Mouton Cadet Upends Trademark Free Rider after 7 Years

发布时间: 2017/9/6 15:51:00


  Mouton Cadet wine is popular worldwide for its mellow taste, strong quality and unique flavor. Over the trademark “穆桐” (Note: same pronunciation as Mouton’s trademark “木桐” in Chinese) certified to be used on wine, France-based BARON PHILIPPE DE ROTHSCHILD S.A(ROTHSCHILD), the owner of Mouton Chateau and Shanghai PANATI Wine Ltd. (PANATI), a company running wine import business, had locked horns for seven years.

  Beijing High People’s Court recently wrapped up this marathon once and for all with its final-instance judgment, rejecting the appeal from PANATI, revoking the approval decision aby the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board (TRAB) under the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) for registration of No.6685751 “穆桐” (trademark in dispute), and ordering the TRAB to review the trademark in dispute.

  Beijing No.1 Intermediate People’s Court held that, if the trademark in dispute and three reference trademarks coexisted on the same or similar products, it might cause confusion among the public. The trademark in dispute constituted similarity on the same or similar products with the three reference trademarks. Meanwhile, the court declined ROTHSCHILD’s assertion that the registration of trademark in dispute was abusive over its prior registered trademark as the reference trademarks were cited on the same products and the rights had been protected in accordance with other clauses of the Chinese Trademark Law. Therefore, Beijing No.1 Intermediate People’s Court revoked the decision made by TRAB, and ordered TRAB to review the trademark in dispute.

  Then PANATI appealed to Beijing High People’s Court.

  Beijing High held that, the trademark was formed by Chinese characters “穆桐”。 However, “穆桐” was not fixed words in Chinese, and PANATI also failed to adduce evidence to show its special meaning. The three reference trademarks all contained the characters “木桐”, although the reference trademarks contained other words, the consumers called its wine brands and chateau "木桐” and “木桐酒庄”, as shown in the search results on and document copies from National Library filed by ROTHSCHILD. It could be seen that “木桐” was the distinctive part in the reference trademarks.

  Meanwhile, the French words “MOUTON” corresponding the distinctive words “木桐” in the reference trademarks meant “sheep” in French, but “木桐” was merely the transliteration for “MOUTON”, it did not have specific Chinese meaning. “穆桐” and “木桐” were pronounced the same in Chinese. As it was common to have same pronunciations for different characters in transliteration, and in consideration of the reputation enjoyed by the references trademarks, Beijing High held that as the trademark in dispute and three reference trademarks were certified on the same or similar products, they might lead the public with general attention to believe that two products came from the same origins or had special connections, and eventually to confuse the origins of the products.

  In this connection, Beijing High held that the trademark in dispute was similar with three reference trademarks on the same or similar products, and rejected PANATI’s appeal and upheld the judgment of the first instance. (by Wang Guohao)

  (Editor Li Xingyi)

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