The FT reports:
Chinese companies are falling victim to Chinese trademark pirates in foreign markets ? a twist to the intellectual property problems frequently suffered by foreign companies in China.
In one of the most dramatic cases, two Chinese individuals have applied for trademark registration in Canada for the names and logos of more than 60 Chinese companies.
The companies targeted include China Investment Corporation, Bank of China, state-owned resources companies such as China Minmetals, the Nasdaq-listed internet portal Sohu and traditional consumer brands such as Wang Laoji, the drinks manufacturer.
Trademark experts said the activities of the two applicants, identified in the Canadian Intellectual Property Office's online trademark database, were just the visible sign of a much larger problem.
?Every large or well-known Chinese company that prepares to expand overseas faces the risk of having its trademark registered by someone else in that market first,? said Gloria Wu, a principal at Kangxin Partners, an intellectual property law firm in Beijing.
A group of enterprising Spaniards is set to win the European trademark rights to a word with instant global recognition - OBAMA.
EU trademark rules once stopped opportunists turning the names of heads of state and other prominent figures and celebrities into branding gold.
But now, unless the use of an instantly identifiable name is deemed to be an act of deception, little else prevents the first-comer grabbing the rights. [snip]
Very interesting. If these applications somehow succeed to registration stage, a third party can file a notice asking that the trademark owners produce evidence of actual use of the mark. If they can't show use, the owners will lose their trademark. I wonder if these two individuals will be able to show such use of these 60 names and logos?