China's Supreme Court rules for Dior in intellectual property case and raps trademark office
The Supreme Court of China has ruled in favor of the French fashion house Christian Dior (DIOR.PA), overturning the lower court's ruling, and rapping the local trademark office for refusing an application by the firm for registration of a perfume bottle trademark.
A shopper carries a Dior shopping bag as she takes care of her last-minute Christmas holiday gift purchases in Paris, France, December 18, 2017.
The ruling comes as Beijing, after being stung by criticism including from the United States, that it does not do enough to protect against IP infringement, looks to play its role of protecting and enforcing intellectual property rights.
The United States has threatened China with its multi-billion-dollar Chinese goods tariffs, partly to force Beijing to respond to what Washington calls the theft of US intellectual property and forced technology transfers from US companies.
Earlier this month, China stated that it would introduce a punitive damages system for IP infringements to strengthen IP enforcement for foreign companies and ensure that the infringers “pay a big price”.
In a judgement on Thursday, also World Intellectual Property Day, the Supreme Court of China ruled in favor of Dior in a suit against Trademark Review and Adjudication Board after years of court battle.
The Supreme Court issued a statement on its website that the board incorrectly rejected the application of Dior in 2015 to register its teardrop-shaped J'adore perfume bottle. Two lower courts had ruled against Dior after an appeal.
Cui Guobin, an associate professor of IP at China’s Tsinghua University, told China Daily that the ruling showed that the country would protect IP rights “regardless of where it came from” but added that there was still work to do.
"The ruling also implies that there is a need to improve our trademark law," he said.