Law & Practice

CHINA: British Car Brand BENTLEY Wins Litigation and Administrative Decisions Against Infringing Trademark Applications

Published: September 21, 2022

Maggie Yang Brookstone IP Limited Beijing, China INTA Bulletins Committee—China Subcommittee

Verifier

Jian Xu Gowling WLG (Beijing) Beijing, China Brands and Innovation Committee

The Beijing Higher Court made a final judgment (Ref. No.: (2022) Jing Xing Zhong No. 1002) on July 28, 2022, regarding application No. 25872107 for BENTLEY CARRASSES MANOR in Chinese, filed by Oriental Tomorrow (Jinjiang) Import & Export Co., Ltd.

The court noted that the applicant copied and filed more than 90 trademarks containing BENTLEY, the translated Chinese characters for BENTLEY, and the “Winged-B” device, and concluded that it had acquired the contested trademark by unfair means and that its application should be invalidated.

This is not Bentley’s first victory over applicants and agencies that were found to have applied for trademarks in bad faith.

In June 2021, the Administration for Market Regulation of Beijing Xicheng District issued a penalty decision (Ref.: Jing Xi Shi Jian Fa Zi (2021) No. 398) against  Beijing Sihailong IP Agency Co., Ltd., a Chinese trademark agency, and fined it RMB 70,000 (around US $11,000) for filing 20 trademark applications containing BENTLEY, BENTLEY in Chinese, and the “Winged-B” device, on behalf of its Hong Kong–based client BEN MOTORS LIMITED, which is not affiliated with the British Bentley Company. The Chinese National Intellectual Property Administration did not approve the agency’s attempts to withdraw those applications before the Administration for Market Regulation of Beijing Xicheng District started its investigation.

The Administration for Market Regulation of Beijing Xicheng District based its penalty decision on Articles 4 and 68.1.3 of the China Trademark Law, concluding that these trademark applications:

  • were imitations, plagiarisms, or alterations of Bentley’s trademarks;
  • damaged the legitimate rights of Bentley; and
  • were likely to cause adverse social impact.

Both the above court judgment and administrative penalty decision have sent a strong signal about China’s determination to curb bad-faith trademark applications not just by regulating applicants but also agencies, which are more experienced and therefore more obligated to avoid filing problematic applications.

Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of this article, readers are urged to check independently on matters of specific concern or interest. Law & Practice updates are published without comment from INTA except where it has taken an official position.

© 2022 International Trademark Association

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