By Yang Xiaoli Zhang Jiaqi and Kang Lifang King &Wood Mallesons Beijing,China
I. Case facts
On January 18, 2012, the government of the Republic of Fiji (the “Fijian Government”) applied to register three certification marks “FIJI PURE MAHOGANY” (No. 10437014), “FIJI PURE” (No. 10437015) and “FPM” (No. 10437016) at the Trademark Office of China, all for “plantation grown mahogany timber” in Class 19.
After examination, the Trademark Office refused registration of the three marks on the grounds that (1) the first two applied-for marks were devoid of distinctiveness; (2) the third mark was similar to the cited mark(No. 6119374); and (3) the applicant, the Fijian Government, did not submit effective Rules for the Use of Certification Marks for all of the three applications. Dissatisfied with the decisions, the Fijian Government filed a review with the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board (“TRAB”).
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