Fighting trademark cases can be a long, tough battle in China but on Wednesday, Richemont’s Alfred Dunhill brand hailed a “major trademark victory” in the country with the luxury brand awarded “uncommonly large” damages by a Chinese court.
It also said the ruling is a “landmark victory in China for any global brand” and “demonstrates the country’s progress in IP protection,” as well as its own “unequivocal resolve” in tackling infringement.
The brand has been awarded CNY10 million ($1.47 million) after the Foshan Intermediate People’s Court, Guangdong Province, ruled that lower-priced menswear brand Danhuoli was guilty of both trademark infringement and unfair competition practice. This is “significantly larger than the average ruling in trademark infringement cases in China,” Dunhill said.
“In a rare move for Chinese courts, the judge also deemed that the individual responsible for the company was personally liable for the infringement, giving extra teeth to the court’s decision and strengthening China’s growing reputation for intellectual property protection,” it added.
The case centred around Danhuoli’s imitation of the ‘long tail mark’ of Alfred Dunhill’s logo. The Chinese company had originally registered the Danhuoli trademark in plain font, but had for several years used the mark in a manner “bearing striking similarities to Alfred Dunhill’s signature elongated lettering and black and white colour palette,” it said.
Dunhill added that “the budget clothes company had also established a shadow company named Dunhill Group in Hong Kong, to manage corporate business activities for the brand. Alfred Dunhill had previously been successful in shutting down the shadow company in Hong Kong, however, it had continued to trade across the Chinese mainland.”