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Linda Liu & Partners honored as “Excellent Trademark Agency of 2017-2018” Case of Linda Liu & Partners selected as “Excellent Trademark Cases of 2017-2018”

On September 3, 2018, the 2018 International Trademark Brand Festival hosted by China Trademark Association, Hebei Administration of Industry and Commerce, and Tangshan Municipal People's Government came to an end at Tangshan Nanhu International Convention and Exhibition Center. This year's Trademark Brand Festival, themed as “Creation, Protection and Application” of trademark brands, held Chinese Brand Economy Summit Forum, International Trademark Law Development Forum, Typical Trademark Case Evaluation Forum, Trademark Review Practice Forum, and Chinese Enterprise Oversea Rights Protection Forum, China-Japan Trademark Forum and other diverse and informative forums and salons, providing a beneficial platform for governments, enterprises, agencies, and industry professionals to exchange brand building experiences and business information. Linda Liu & Partners sent Hui XIAO, Minister of Trademark Department of the Beijing Headquarters, Keli ZONG and Xinyan LIU, Vice Ministers of Trademark Department of the Beijing Headquarters, and Qiu GENG, Director of Linda Liu & Partners Shanghai Branch to participate in the trademark festival.

At the welcome dinner of the Trademark Festival on August 31, the organizing committee held the 2018 China International Trademark Brand Festival Awards Ceremony and presented the highly prized “Excellent Trademark Agency” award of China Trademark Association. At the award ceremony, Linda Liu & Partners was titled “Excellent Trademark Agency of 2017-2018” with its outstanding performance in the year.
On the afternoon of September 1, the results of the “Excellent Trademark Cases of 2017-2018” were released on the “Typical Trademark Case Evaluation Forum – Regulations on Malicious Registration in Trademark Law Amendment”. Taking into consideration the factors including typicality, influence, demonstration, innovation, effectiveness and reference, the evaluation committee evaluated the typical trademark cases one by one. The case of Linda Liu & Partners where the mark “OKAYAMA” is not permitted of registration was selected as one of the 26 “Excellent Trademark Cases of 2017-2018” of China.
Case Brief
Entrusted by the four opponents of Okayama-ken Government, Okayama Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Okayama-ken Chamber of Commerce and Industry Association, and Okayama-ken Central Committee of Small and Medium Sized Enterprise Association (hereinafter referred to as the opponents), Linda Liu & Partners filed an objection to the trademark “OKAYAMA” (hereinafter referred to as the objected trademark) which was applied by Hong Kong Louis John Brand Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as “the person challenged”).
The main objection reasons of the opponents are: (1) “OKAYAMA” is the English expression of “Okayama (冈山)”. The Chinese character “冈山” has a unique correspondence with the English expression “OKAYAMA”. It has a high awareness in China and is a foreign place name known to the public. (2) The challenged person has always been maliciously imitating well-known trademarks of other people. (3) “Okayama White Peach” has long been registered as a geographical indication in Japan. The registration of the objected trademark can easily mislead the public, causing confusion and misunderstanding of the source of the goods.
After review, the Trademark Office held that “OKAYAMA” is the name of the Japanese county and city which belongs to foreign place names known to the public. The objected trademark is the same with the place name, and thus violates Article 10 of the Trademark Law. Moreover, “OKAYAMA” is deceptive when used as a trademark on the above-mentioned goods, and can easily cause the public to misidentify the origin of the goods. In accordance with the provisions of Article 10.1 (7), Article 10.2, and Article 35 of the Trademark Law, the objected trademark shall not be registered.
Significance of the case
In this case, the Trademark Office applied the provisions of Article 10.2 of the Trademark Law, and actively considered the correspondence between foreign and Chinese geographical names for the protection of foreign geographical names known to the public so as to protect corresponding Chinese and foreign geographical names. In addition, in light of causing misunderstanding of the source of goods or services, the Trademark Office provided protection in accordance with Article 10.1 (7) of the Trademark Law. This case not only provides new ideas for activists of well-known geographical names in foreign countries, but fully exhibits a high sense of responsibility and strong execution of the trademark presiding authority in cracking down on malicious cybersquatting and protecting the intellectual property rights of Chinese and foreign trademark owners, thereby greatly enhancing the confidence of overseas defenders in exercising their rights in China.
In the past 14 years, Linda Liu & Partners has always been highly praised in the industry with its focus on facts, consistency in service quality, and significance attached to quality. Linda Liu & Partners will continue to make its best effort to provide the clients with high-quality trademark agent service.
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