10 October 2018Trademarks

Alfred Dunhill secures TM victory in China

British menswear brand Alfred Dunhill has secured a victory in China after a court awarded the company RMB10 million ($1.5 million) in a trademark infringement case.

Today, October 10, Alfred Dunhill announced its victory, which it said was the latest success in parent company Richemont’s global brand protection efforts.

The Foshan Intermediate People’s Court, Guangdong Province, reportedly found that rival menswear brand Danhuoli was guilty of both trademark infringement and unfair competition practices.

Danhuoli had copied the ‘long tail mark’ of Alfred Dunhill’s logo, which features elongated letters d, h and l, while Danhuoli’s logo features elongation on the same letters, plus on an additional letter i.

According to a press release from IP consultancy Rouse and its Chinese law firm partner Lusheng Law Firm, which supported Alfred Dunhill in its case, Danhuoli had originally registered its mark in plain font, but had been using the mark with elongated lettering and a black and white colour palette for several years.

Rouse added that Danhuoli had also created a shadow company—Dunhill Group—in Hong Kong, to manage corporate business activities. While Alfred Dunhill had managed to shut down this company in Hong Kong, it had continued to trade across the Chinese mainland.

“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 IP protection,” said Rouse.

According to Alfred Dunhill, this case represents a landmark victory in China for any global brand, given the scale of the damages awarded.

However, this isn’t the first time a brand has received this amount of damages. In August last year, WIPR  reported that footwear manufacturer New Balance had been awarded the same amount, RMB10 million, in a trademark case.

Andrew Maag, CEO at Alfred Dunhill, said: “Today’s ruling demonstrates Alfred Dunhill’s unequivocal resolve in tackling infringement of our IP rights in China and globally. With the support of Rouse and Lusheng Law Firm, we’ve secured a fair and proportionate ruling.”

Luke Minford, global CEO of Rouse, added that the decision should reinforce to other brand owners that China is “finally getting serious” about protecting foreign brands.

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24 August 2017   Footwear manufacturer New Balance has won a significant trademark payout in China, after a court awarded the US company more than RMB 10 million ($1.5 million) in damages.