By King & Wood’s Trademark Group

Dissatisfied with the trademark registration of "BRITNEY 布兰妮 (BRITNEY in Chinese)" by a third party in China, the famous star singer Britney Spears filed suit against the China Trademark Review and Adjudication Board (TRAB) before the Beijing First Intermediate People’s Court, requesting the Court to rescind the TRAB’s decision on maintaining the registration of the mark "布兰妮BRITNEY".

The third party, Shenzhen Wanfuda Trading Co., Ltd. ("Wanfuda") filed an application for registration of the mark "BRITNEY 布兰妮 (BRITNEY in Chinese)" in August of 2001. The mark was granted registration on "clocks; watches; etc." in class 14 on January 28, 2004 by the China Trademark Office (CTMO) under Reg. No. 2010626. Ms. Spears filed an application for cancellation against the said mark with the TRAB on October 8, 2005 based on her name rights. After examination, the TRAB maintained the registration of the disputed mark. Ms. Spears was dissatisfied with the TRAB’s decision and therefore filed suit with the Court against the TRAB’s decision.

After examination, the Court held that the evidence submitted by Ms. Spears was not sufficient to prove that her name had become well-known in China when Wanfuda filed the trademark application in 2001, and Wanfuda’s registered mark "BRITNEY 布兰妮 (BRITNEY in Chinese)" has not impaired the prior name rights of Ms. Spears and therefore maintains the registration of the disputed mark. (contributed by Fu Yanan and Liu Shuzhen)

Biography of Ms. Spears:

Britney Jean Spears is an American recording artist and entertainer. She signed with Jive Records in 1997 and released the debut album Baby One More Time in 1999 which created a sales volume record of 25 million copies and thus built her fame. Ms. Spears is also recognized as the best-selling female artist of the first decade of the 21st century, as well as the fifth overall by Chart Watch Extra in 2009.

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