7 January 2020TrademarksRory O'Neill

BBC wins damages in Chinese trademark suit

The BBC has won a trademark infringement suit against a China-based English language teaching site which used the broadcaster’s logo on its website, apps, and social media accounts.

According to local state media, the Haidan District People’s Court awarded the UK public service broadcaster damages and costs of RMB1 million ($144,000).

The BBC sued Beijing iYuba Technology last February, citing the unauthorised reproduction of its logo on iYuba’s website, a WeChat account, as well as five apps developed by the Chinese company.

The broadcaster had requested damages of RMB500,000 ($72,000), as well as an injunction blocking iYuba from using its trademark.

Beijing iYuba Tech develops apps for learning English. The court found that the logos used by iYuba created the same overall impression as the BBC’s logo, despite slight differences in colour and presentation, and the addition of words such as “English”.

The BBC had argued that the similarity to its own logo was likely to create the false impression that it was associated with iYuba Tech’s services.

According to the UK broadcaster, cease-and-desist letters to the Chinese company had been ignored, leading to the lawsuit.

The judgment is another high-profile victory for foreign IP owners in China, coming just days after the company behind “Peppa Pig” successfully sued a local vendor for copyright infringement.

WIPR has contacted the BBC for comment.

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12 February 2018   The BBC has tackled a China-based English learning site over the alleged unauthorised use of the ‘BBC’ trademark.