DLA Piper Wins 22-Year-Old Trademark Battle in China on Behalf of Luxury Shoe Designer Manolo Blahnik

DLA Piper Wins 22-Year-Old Trademark Battle in China on Behalf of Luxury Shoe Designer Manolo Blahnik

Many thanks to attorneys at DLA Piper, luxurious shoe designer Manolo Blahnik has received the right to use his name in China for the very first time,  bringing to an conclusion a trademark struggle that has lasted 22 many years.

The Chinese Supreme Court canceled a trademark incorporating the Manolo Blahnik name that has been owned by Chinese businessman Fang Yuzhou.

Blahnik, the Spanish vogue designer and founder of the eponymous substantial-conclude shoe brand, experienced been unable to promote his branded sneakers in China for the reason that the mark Manolo & Blahnik belonged to Fang, who preemptively registered it in 1999.

In excess of the past two many years, Blahnik appealed a number of moments, but people appeals were being dismissed, with the courts ruling that the company failed to current evidence of adequate product sales in mainland China prior to 2000.

“This was Manolo Blahnik’s remaining prospect to defeat the pirate mark and reclaim the proper to use his title in China,” DLA Piper mentioned in a assertion. “The successful arguments focused on Manolo Blahnik’s private identify rights and Fang’s negative faith.”

Edward Chatterton, DLA Piper lover and co-head of the firm’s mental residence and know-how practice in Asia, was the direct attorney representing Blahnik. The local organization that worked with DLA on the retrial was Beijing Wanhuida Law Agency. Deacons suggested Manolo Blahnik on the prior proceedings.

Fang Yuzhou was represented by Beijing Junzejun (Guangzhou) Legislation Agency.

“This is a landmark ruling which could pave the way for other overseas organizations that obtain on their own in related conditions,” DLA’s Chatterton stated. “Due to improved trademark legislation in China in the latest several years and a willingness from Chinese courts to protect the interests of manufacturer proprietors, we assume to see far more foreign businesses realize success in resolving intellectual home disputes.”

China has a “first to file” trademark procedure, which has left numerous international organizations susceptible. When overseas firms break into the Chinese market place, quite a few have faced extortion from area “pirates” who have preemptively registered their emblems.

Because 2019, amendments to China’s trademark laws have been enforced, raising the number of international companies that have received trademark disputes in Chinese courts.

Very last calendar year, American sportswear brand New Harmony received a scenario versus a Chinese sportswear company named New Barlun, which imitated its “N” symbol. New Stability gained $3.8 million in damages. Lusheng Law Organization, a member of the Rouse network, advised New Balance.

In 2020, previous basketball star Michael Jordan, represented by former Fangda Partners’ veteran intellectual home litigation associate Gordon Gao, received a judgment ordering Chinese sportswear company Qiaodan Sporting activities to quit working with its emblems. Those people marks made use of Chinese characters representing the literal translation of the basketball legened’s title. That lawsuit went on for pretty much a 10 years. Earlier this yr, Gao and his group left Fangda to sign up for King & Wood Mallesons.

In 2018, two luxury menswear brands, Ermenegildo Zegna and Alfred Dunhill, also emerged victorious from trademark disputes with copycat Chinese manufacturers. Dunhill, represented by Rouse, was awarded $1.4 million. Zegna, which was represented by Beijing-primarily based Ferrante IP, was awarded $310,000.

For Japanese retailer Muji, it is continue to an uphill fight. Last year, Muji misplaced its circumstance towards a Beijing-centered textile enterprise and was requested to shell out Beijing Cottonfield Textile $62,530 for defamation. Muji Shanghai and its dad or mum organization Ryohin Keikaku were accused of defamation soon after publishing announcements saying that “another company” was “trademark squatting.”

Earlier in 2015, Cottonfield also sued Muji Shanghai and its mother or father for trademark infringement, accusing them of embellishing a similar logo on its textile products. The Beijing Mental Residence Court ruled in favor of the Chinese company in 2017 and the ruling was upheld in 2019 following Muji appealed.