Heineken is the latest international company to face roadblocks registering its trademark in China. The popular beer maker alleges that Wujiang Xili Machinery Factory, a small Chinese sewing company, is illegally using its name and logo.

As FT.com reports, China’s State Administration for Industry and Commerce previously rejected Wujiang Xili prior attempt to register two Heineken names, citing “bad faith.” The current dispute involves a third version, which Heineken has also petitioned to cancel.

Of course, Heineken is not the first multinational company to face trademark issues in China. Several high-profile U.S. companies, including Starbucks, Apple and Dell, have sought trademark protection in China only to discover that their marks have already been registered by an unrelated entity. Most recently, electric carmaker Tesla Motors Inc. ran into a roadblock expanding its car sales into China when it discovered a Chinese businessman already owns the “Tesla” trademark in China, including both the English and Chinese versions.

As we have previously discussed, China recently approved a series of reforms intended to curb such problems. Most importantly, owners of “renowned” trademarks will be able to prohibit others from registering their trademarks or using similar ones, even if brand names are not yet registered. The potential financial penalties for trademark infringement will also increase to 3 million yuan (about 500,000 U.S. dollars), which is six times the previous limit.

Unfortunately for brand owners like Heineken, the changes don’t take effect until May 1, 2014

How Can I Help?

If you, or someone you know, need any help with Intellectual Property issues, from filing a patent, trademark or copyright, or just need advice regarding how best to protect your inventions, ideas or your brand, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at nvantreeck@usip.com or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

Leave a reply