Volkswagen Inc. V. Trademark Review And Appraisal Board Of The State Administration For Industry And Commerce Of The People¡¯s Republic Of China

Volkswagen Inc. V. Trademark Review And Appraisal Board Of The State Administration For Industry And Commerce Of The People¡¯s Republic Of China Re: Dispute Over Trademark Administration

Volkswagen Inc. (Volkswagen) applied on 8 June 2004 to register the trademark ¡°Tuan¡± (No. 418302) (the proposed trademark) on motorcycles, bicycles, auto tires, land, air, water and rail transport means, automobiles, light vehicles, off-road vehicles, caravans, automobile bodies, engines of land vehicles and interior vehicle accessories. Zhejiang Shaoxing Kesiweiteli Electromechanical Co., Ltd. applied on 10 October 1986 for the registration of the trademark ¡°Antu¡± (No. 276188) (the referenced trademark) and extended its exclusive rights to use the referenced trademark to 29 January 2017 on auto parts. Therefore, the Trademark Review and Appraisal Board (TRAB) decided (the No.13002 Decision) not to approve Volkswagen's application for the registration of its trademark. Volkswagen filed a claim with the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People's Court against the TRAB's decision.

Volkswagen claimed that: 1. The proposed trademark and the referenced trademark were completely different in terms of their names and meanings. In addition, the texts and logos formed to express the referenced trademark was distinctively different from the proposed trademark; 2. The products on which the proposed trademark was to be used were different from those on which the referenced trademark was allowed to be used in terms of the nature, purposes, target consumers and sale channels. Therefore, those products could not be seen as similar; and 3. Consumers had already recongized the Chinese brand, ¡°Tuan¡± as the Chinese trademark of the Touran multi-purpose cars. The proposed trademark and the referenced trademark would not cause confusion; 4. The owner of the referenced trademark had already expressed its consent to the registration of the proposed trademark.

The TRAB did not intend to amend or revoke the No.13002 Decision.

It was held that: 1. By comparison, the consumers of the products on which the proposed trademark was to be used were end users of automobiles. The key consumers of the products on which the referenced trademark were allowed to be used were manufacturers and repairers of automobiles. The majority of the consumers of the products on which the proposed trademark was to be used would not be confused by the sources of the aforesaid products. Therefore, the aforesaid products were not seen as similar; and 2. Both the proposed trademark and the referenced trademark included the two characters ¡°an¡± and ¡°tu¡±, but such characters were presented in different orders. Therefore, the two trademarks in Chinese were not similar in terms of their patterns, pronunciations and meanings. The proposed trademark and the referenced trademark in English were also obviously different, and the proposed trademark did not include a logo or any other elements. Thus, the proposed trademark and the referenced trademark were not similar trademarks.

Based on the above reasoning, it was concluded that: No.13002 Decision of the Trademark Review and Appraisal Board of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce of the People¡¯s Republic of China was hereby overruled and the TRAB must re-decide on the review application filed by Volkswagen in respect of its trademark ¡°Tuan Touran¡± (No.4108302).



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