Guangzhou Intermediate People's Court has recently made the
first instance decision finding for H.J. Heinz Company in trademark
infringement and unfair competitions disputes with a Dongguan
company. Lifang partners Mr. Xie Guanbin and Mr. Darren Cai
represented Heinz in the proceedings, during which the court has
also determined that a Chinese version and un English version of
Heinz's trademarks are well-known on class 5 baby food. The
Defendant is also ordered to immediately cease infringement and
unfair competition practice and compensate Heinz for economic
losses and reasonable expenses.
H.J. Heinz Company is a world leading supplier of baby food and
various condiments. In 2010, Heinz found that the defendant changed
its company name to Dongguan Hengshi Education Information Co.,
Ltd., wherein the Chinese word "Hengshi" is identical to
one of Heinz's registered trademark in China as well as
Heinz's Chinese company name. The Dongguan company also used
marks identical with or comprising Heinz's Chinese and English
word trademarks in prominent manners at its business sites and in
publicity materials. Entrusted by Heinz, Lifang acted on behalf of
Heinz in pursuing a series of legal actions including the lawsuit
for trademark infringement and unfair competition and filed a
request for the court to determine the involved Heinz trademarks
are well-known trademarks. We prepared sufficient evidence
regarding the publicity and reputation of Heinz marks in China,
their continuous use in China, market share, advertising and
marketing, media coverage and charity activities. The Court
eventually found that Heinz's are well-known trademarks of baby
The Guangzhou court decision is the first one that
includes well-known trademark determination coming after the
implantation of the new Trademark Law, although the previous law
applies to the case. The Court applies Article 13 of Supreme
People's Court's Interpretation on Several Issues Regarding
the Application of Law to Civil Cases Involving the Protection of
Well-known Trademarks (2009), which provides that in civil
cases involving well-known trademark protection, the Court's
finding that a trademark is well-known is a part of the finding of
fact and ground for decision, but is not included in the main text
of the court order. This provision has been adopted in Article 14
of the new Trademark Law.
China's new Trademark Law, which has taken effect on May 1,
2014, is more specific on issues regarding the determination of
well-known trademark. In addition to the aforesaid article 14, it
stipulates the condition for such determination from the
prospective of the owner of a well-known trademark, i.e.
"Should any rights of a trademark well known to the relevant
public be infringed, the trademark holder may request for the
protection of well-known trademark." (Article 13) In the
meanwhile, the new law further clarifies the procedures for
determining well-known trademarks respectively by the Trademark
Office, the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board and the
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