By Lin Jiuchu, Zhang Jiaqi and Xu Huiwen King & Wood Mallesons’ IP group
On 10 June 2015, ROYER BRANDS INTERNATIONAL S.A.R.L. (“Royer”) filed an application with the PRC Trademark Office (“CTMO”) to register trademark No. 17165853 “ ” for designated goods in Class 18, which includes items such as backpacks, wallets, purses, leather belts, umbrellas, parasols and walking sticks.
The CTMO refused the application on the grounds that “Dutch” means “of the Netherlands” (“荷兰” in Chinese). Names of foreign countries are not permitted to use as trademarks under Chinese law. Royer appealed the CTMO’s decision with the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board (“TRAB”). Citing Article 10.1.2 of the PRC Trademark Law, TRAB agreed with the CTMO’s decision.
Royer then initiated administrative litigation. After hearing the case, the Beijing Intellectual Property Court (“Beijing IP Court”) found in favor of Royer and overturned the decision of TRAB.
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