Chinese court says Huawei brand differs from Under Armor in recent second win for tech giant
Chanel made headlines in April when the General Court of the European Union issued a ruling in the trademarks case that pitted its double “C” logo against one of Huawei’s trademarks. Siding with the Chinese tech giant, the Tribunal determined that while the brands of the two parties “in fact share certain characteristics, namely a black circle [and] two intertwined curves, which the circle surrounds “, they are ultimately” visually different “and therefore, there is little risk that the public concerned will be confused as to the source of the products or services bearing the Chanel double” C “logo by compared to those of Huawei the nested “H” and “U” marks, which the company filed with the European Union Intellectual Property Office in 2017 for use on computer hardware and software, which prompted Chanel to cry foul.
As it turns out, Chanel isn’t the only Western company whose brand has caused conflict for Huawei. In response to a trademark application filed by Huawai, headquartered in Shenzhen, China, to register the same trademark in China in September 2017 for use on smartphones and smart watches, as well as network communication equipment , China’s National Intellectual Property Administration (“CNIPA”) was quick to point out the similarity to another existing brand: the logo used by the sportswear company Under Armor. As a result, the CNIPA allowed Huawei’s app to move forward in the registration process, but only in relation to smartphones and network communication equipment. Other goods / services, including connected watches, have been removed from the application because they are too close to those already offered by Under Armor, and therefore likely to confuse consumers.
In response, Huawei unsuccessfully requested the intervention of the Beijing Intellectual Property Court in an attempt to overturn the rejection of the other goods / services by the CNIPA, the court finding that the graphic marks of both parties had ” similar design styles and general visuals ”, and thus, confirming the determination of CNIPA. Undeterred, Huawei appealed to the Beijing Superior People’s Court, which ultimately ruled in its favor last month, according to China-focused intellectual property company Rouse.
Preparing the ground in its June 17 ruling, the Beijing Superior People’s Court first made a distinction between the main activities of the two companies, saying that Huawei is mainly engaged in the business of communication, computer, devices. wearable and artificial intelligence, while Baltimore, Md. – Under Armor is a sports equipment company that manufactures sportswear, sports shirts, footwear and accessories. Just as their basic commercial offerings differ, the court found that the parties’ brands, themselves, are not identical and, in fact, consist of “different compositional concepts and design styles”, as well as different “thicknesses. “. Consequently, the two marks are likely to present a different ‘overall appearance’ to the relevant public.
With this in mind, the Beijing Higher People’s Court held that the two marks “do not constitute similar marks and, therefore, the initial judgment and decision of the CNIPA are inappropriate”, while “the relevant grounds of the Huawei’s appeal are valid and should be supported. The case will now come back to the CNIPA.
As for the status of the Chanel case, the General Court ruled in April that the Board of Appeal of EUIPO was correct in concluding that the brands of Chanel and Huawei “are generally different and that, consequently , the [Chanel’s] the opposition had to be rejected. The court affirmed that “insofar as the signs at issue are not similar, the other elements relevant for the global assessment of the likelihood of confusion can in no way compensate for and compensate for this dissimilarity and, consequently, it does not there is no need to examine them. “By siding with Huawei, the court paved the way for the Chinese company’s trademark to proceed with the registration process with EUIPO, assuming, of course, that Chanel is not appealing to the court of law, which is a possibility but does not appear to have happened yet.
Following the latest development of the Chanel v. Huawei, Chinese media reported that netizens were celebrating Huawei’s victory on social media and mocking Chanel for initiating the trademark dispute in the first place. “On Chinese social media, the response to the news relied heavily on a celebration fueled by nationalism linked to Huawei’s identity as a local brand,” he added. SupChina reported in April.
Such “nationalistic sentiment can be a powerful consumer force in China,” the publication’s Jiayun Feng said, noting that “Huawei has embraced the image of a patriotic icon suffering unfair treatment on the world stage.” The 34-year-old tech company was the child star of the Trump administration’s war on Chinese “intellectual property theft,” with Huawei – which holds the title of the world’s largest telecommunications equipment maker – and two of its US subsidiaries being charged by the Justice Department in February 2020 with a conspiracy to “steal trade secrets arising from the China-based company’s alleged long-standing practice of using fraud and deception to hijack sophisticated technology from its American counterparts, ”and thus violate the Influenced Racketeers and Corrupt Organizations Act.