Guangdong High People's Court made a second-instance judgment on the trademark infringement appeal case filed by Levi’s Company against Guangdong Wenshite Garment Industry Co., Ltd., holding that a series of trademarks such as WENSHITE owned by Wenshite did not infringe the exclusive right of Levi's “double arc” registered trademark. Guangdong High rejected the appeal from Levi's and upheld the first-instance decision by Shanwei Intermediate People's Court of Guangdong Province.
According to the complaint, Levi's company owned Levi's trademark, double horses trademark and double arc trademark, and applied for the double arc trademark in China, which was certified to be used on goods including clothing, jeans, shirts, jackets, children's wear, etc. Wenshite Company launched a series of products，and the arc design and logo used on the trouser pocket of Wenshite’s jeans were very similar to the “double arc” trademark of Levi's company. In the meantime, Wenshite also used the label design on the right side of the trouser pocket which was similar to the trademark registered by Levi's. The act could be deemed as malicious free-riding on Levi's's reputation and was suspected of infringing Levi's exclusive rights of the trademark in question. Accordingly, Levi's sued Wenshite at Shanwei Intermediate Court and requested the court to order Wenshite to cease the infringement and indemnify 500,000 yuan in damages.
Wenshite argued that each jeans product sold by it had its own registered trademark, which was WENSHITE in words and figure. Double arc was a universal design expression. The double curved surface of Wenshite's jeans pocket was just a pocket decoration and had no obvious features that would enable consumers to mistakenly believe the products were from Levi's. Therefore, no infringement was constituted.
After hearing, Shanwei Intermediate Court held that there were differences in the combination elements, composition, and overall structure of the trademark logos of the two parties. Therefore, the two marks did not constitute similar ones. Although the Levi's trademark and double horses trademark of Levi's were better known than Wenshite's, the evidence furnished by Levi's was not sufficient to prove that the double arc trademark had a very high reputation. The logo W on the jeans pockets of Wenshite Company was the use and deductive use of the pattern W in its registered trademark WENSHITE. The self-owned trademark WENSHITE were also prominently used on the jeans, fairly different from the trademark logo of Levi's. The trademark logos on Wenshite's products and the registered trademark of Levi's would not cause confusion among the relevant public and would not infringe the exclusive right of registered trademark of Levi’s. Accordingly, the court rejected Levi's claim.
Disgruntled with the first-instance judgement, Levi's then went on appeal to Guangdong High. The superior court upheld the first-instance decision of the trial court and revoked the appeal from Levi's on the ground that the alleged infringed trademark logo was not similar to the trademark in question and would not likely cause confusion among the relevant public.
（by Jiang Xu/Chen Zhaomin）
上海商标注册，上海深蓝商标代理有限公司，021-53018613，firstname.lastname@example.org，China Trademark Registration，http://www.shenlantm.com。