Sweet Taste of Success
A Chinese confectionery-maker has been ordered to hand over 2.43 million yuan ($347,196) in compensation to Cadbury UK Ltd. after a Beijing court found it had infringed on a trademark held by the 195-year-old chocolate brand.
Yikoulian (Xiamen) Food Co. Ltd. registered the trademark ‘怡口莲’ in 2012, using it on a range of popular crispy rice-based chocolate bars.
It translates roughly as “delicious lotus,” bears more than a passing similarity to Cadbury’s ‘怡口蓮’: it sounds identical read out loud, but the Chinese brand uses a simplified Chinese character at the end, Cadbury uses traditional form.
Cadbury charged Yikoulian confused and misled buyers and damaged its reputation.The court ordered Yikoulian to cease production, sales and promotion of products with the counterfeit trademark, remove online ads, take the trademark out of its company name and pay damages and expenses of 2.43 million yuan.
The court cited the identical pronunciation and meaning as well as the overlap in distribution channels, customers and market in finding Yikoulian had engaged in unfair competition. Products from both companies were often sold side by side in supermarkets, it noted.
The presiding judge said companies should foster a good business environment, use their initiative to create their own brands, rather than “piggybacking” on others.
It seems now that foreign firms are starting to have more chances of winning cases in China than Chinese brands are in the US.
Bicyu is a Beijing based Digital Marketing Studio since 2003.
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