A Chinese company has filed trade mark applications to register some of New Zealand’s best-loved wine brands, in its own name.
It is hard to guess the motivations of this company, but perhaps like others before it, it intends to either licence back or sell the registrations to the true brand owners for a high fee.
Trade mark owners who have already secured registered rights in China are in the best position. Those earlier registrations should prevent the pirate’s applications from proceeding to registration. But it would be worthwhile keeping an eye on the pirate’s applications, to make sure they don’t somehow slip through and get accepted. If the applications are accepted, there will be an opportunity to oppose registration of the marks.
Recent changes to IP law in China mean there are additional avenues to attack ‘bad faith’ trade mark applications. Being pre-emptive might be the best option for you, especially if you have not secured registered rights to your brand in China yet.
If your brand is on the list, or if you are not sure if your brand is on the list, get in touch with us.