Funktion One wins Chinese trademark case
CHINA: Funktion One has won a trademark case relating to the use of its name and company logo in China. It follows the pre-emptive registration of the Funktion One name and logo by a Chinese company in March 2005. The British loudspeaker manufacturer, under representation from Wilkinson & Grist, challenged the move and won, vindicating the time and resources that have been absorbed by the lengthy process.
The loudspeaker manufacturer reports that it received invaluable support from industry allies, including members of the trade press and organisations like PLASA and Prolight + Sound, which helped to assemble evidence that greatly assisted the case.
The People’s Republic of China’s trademark law prohibits pre-emptive registration of a trademark that is already in use by another person, in respect of identical or similar goods that have gained a certain level of influence in China. Funktion One’s case focused on the international reputation it has grown since it was formed in 1992 and its prominence in China.
‘In representing Funktion One Research Limited (Funktion One), an internationally renowned inventor and manufacturer of professional point source loudspeaker systems, we are pleased to have successfully established that the trademark filed by a Chinese individual is a pre-emptive registration of the Funktion One mark, which has attained a certain level of influence in China prior to the filing,’ read Wilkinson & Grist’s statement.
‘Funktion One’s products have gained high regard internationally for their unique techniques and designs,’ the statement continued. ‘The mark was filed on March 16th 2005 in respect of, inter alia, loudspeakers and sound reproduction apparatus, and is a substantial reproduction of Funktion One’s marks.’
The Trademark Review and Adjudication Board (TRAB) ruled that the evidence clearly showed that the Funktion One mark was not only well known internationally, but also in China. TRAB adjudged that the mark has attained ‘certain influence’ in the country.
Funktion One’s evidence included its participation in international and local exhibitions, features in international and local trade magazines and records of the professional awards that the company has won. Specific correspondences from Chinese companies expressing strong interest in doing business with Funktion One added to the compelling argument.
Following the successful opposition of Wu’s mark, Funktion One also succeeded in securing registration of its own Funktion One mark in China.
‘It’s a huge relief,’ said Funktion One’s Ann Andrews. ‘China is a very important market for us. Obviously, we’d prefer not to face threats to our trademarks and copyrights, but we fought and won, so we’re very pleased about that. Our representatives, Wilkinson & Grist, have been brilliant, professional and diligent throughout. As have the trade press, PLASA and Prolight + Sound, and we’d like to thank them for their support. Hopefully this sends out a positive message to the industry.’