Recently, the Supreme People’s Court of the People's Republic of China (SPC) rendered its retrial judgment regarding the administrative lawsuit for review of refusal of the trademark application for “mothercare” (the applied mark) filed by Mothercare UK Limited (Mothercare). The SPC overturned the second instance judgement rendered by Beijing High People’s Court, the first instance judgement rendered by Beijing IP Court and the review decision issued by the previous Trademark Review and Adjudication Board of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (TRAB), and ordered the current China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) to re-issue a new decision.
“Mothercare” is a famous brand of maternal and baby products in England. Established in 1961, Mothercare is recognized as the symbol of safety, quality and value in the field of maternal and baby products. In 2013, Mothercare applied to register the “mothercare” mark in relation to the core goods in core class (namely “baby carrier etc.” in class 18) in China, which was rejected by the previous Trademark Office of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce by citing a pre-emptively registered mark for “Mother care” (the cited mark). Entrusted by Mothercare, Zhong Lun won the case after two instances of administrative lawsuits which lasted nearly 4 years, successfully invalidated the cited mark by obtaining cross-class protection, and finally cleared the prior obstacle for the registration of the applied mark a few years later.
With 7 years unremitting endeavor, Zhong Lun made rounds of application before the Court to suspend the examination of the subject case, finally helped Mothercare maintain the very early application date of the applied mark, and successfully got the “mothercare” mark registered in the core class. Registration of this “mothercare” mark further strengthened Mothercare’s intellectual property rights, brought a new weapon for its enforcement of rights in China, and is significant in its protection of the “mothercare” brand in China.
This series of cases were handled by Zhong Lun team led by partners Jimmy Huang and Hope Yang, and the team members include the associates Brenda Jin and Alicia Ma.