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JEEP vs. BATTLEFIELD JEEP in Chinese of CCPIT was selected as Excellent Case

In the 2016 China Trademark Festival held in Kunshan, China from October 27 to October 30, 2016, China Trademark Association announced the 2015-2016 Selection of Excellent Cases and the case JEEP vs. BATTLEFIELD JEEP in Chinese handled by CCPIT PATENT AND TRADEMARK LAW OFFICE was selected as one of the twenty three Excellent Cases.

The excellent cases were selected according to the standard of being innovative, effective, typical, influential and exemplary by professionals and experts from the courts, universities and trademark administrative authorities with the purpose of reviewing important cases and events concerning trademarks in 2015 and 2016 and set up the standard of excellent cases and give full play to the guiding role of the excellent cases.

The basic information of the case JEEP vs. BATTLEFIELD JEEP in Chinese is as follows:

The counterparty ZHONGSHAN SHIQI YUANSHENG GARMENT CO., LTD. ( hereinafter referred to as YUSHENG) filed trademark applications for “BATTLEFIED JEEP in Chinese” in respect of clothing in Class 25 and bags in Class 18 in July 24, 2008 and sales for other in Class 35 in April 12, 2011, against which, CCPIT filed oppositions on behalf of CHRYSLER GROUP LLC. ( hereinafter referred to as CHRYSLER) based on CHRYSLER’s well-known trademarks “JEEP” and “JEEP in Chinese” on automobiles and prior registered trademark “JEEP” on clothing and bags, etc.

China Trademark Office did not support CHRYSLER’s oppositions and China Trademark Review and Adjudication Board did not support CHRYSLER’s request for review either. CHRYSLER then authorized CCPIT to file administrative litigations with Beijing No. 1 Intermediate court. The Intermediate Court held that the trademarks were somewhat dissimilar and the evidence submitted by YUANSHENG proved that the opposed trademark had been used and formed stable market order and as a result the relevant public could distinguish the trademarks from each other.

CCPIT filed appeals with Beijing Higher People’s Court on behalf of CHRYSLER. After hearing, the Higher Court made the final judgment revoking the judgment of the Intermediate Court and the decision made by the TRAB: the opposed trademark wholly contains “JEEP in Chinese” which is corresponding to “JEEP” and constitutes similar trademark used on similar goods; considering the prior use and high reputation of the CHRYSLER’s “JEEP” trademark on clothing and bags, the coexistence of the trademarks on similar goods is likely to cause confusion among the consumers; the opposed trademark is an imitation of CHRYLSER’s well-known trademarks on automobiles and is liable to mislead the relevant public and weaken and dilute the distinctiveness of CHRYSLER’s well-known trademarks; the evidence submitted by YUANSHENG is insufficient to prove that the opposed trademark can be distinguished by consumers and will not cause confusion through its use and promotion; and therefore, the opposed trademark shall not be registered.

The selection of the case JEEP vs. BATTLEFIELD JEEP in Chinese as an excellent case embodies the purpose of legislation to curb free riding and rush registration by a third party, protect the prior rights of the trademark owners, and to eliminate the likelihood of confusion in the market. The case is significant for CHRYSLER to protect its legitimate rights and interests and is also helpful to purify the market, eliminate confusion and protect the interests of the consumers.