A Case Study of VON DUTCH (Ⅱ)
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. 17165854 for designated goods in Class 14. This class includes unprocessed and semi-processed precious metals, jewelry boxes, sleeve buttons, cufflinks, jewelry, watches and so on. The CTMO refused the application on the grounds that “Dutch” means “of the Netherlands”. Under Chinese law, names of foreign countries are not permitted to be used as trademarks. Royer appealed the CTMO’s decision to the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board (“TRAB”). TRAB dismissed the application on the grounds that “the word part of the trademark ‘VonDutch and Design’ implies ‘from the Netherlands’, and may mislead the public as to the place of origin of such goods when designated for use on goods including jewelry. Therefore the trademark application is prohibited under Article 10.1.7 of the PRC Trademark Law”. Royer then initiated administrative litigation. After hearing the case, the Beijing Intellectual Property Court found in favor of Royer and overturned the decision of TRAB. TRAB appealed to the Beijing High People’s Court which upheld the first instance judgment.