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Chinese Court Upholds Ruling in BBC Trademark Infringement Case - China Legal News

Sun, 20 Dec 2020
Categories: China Legal Trends

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The use of the word “BBC English” and relevant logos by a Beijing language company constituted trademark infringement and unfair competition, says Beijing IP Court in November 2020.

On 25 Nov. 2020, Beijing Intellectual Property Court ruled in the second instance that the use of word “BBC English” and relevant logos by Beijing Iyuba Technology Co., Ltd. (“Iyuba”) infringed upon the exclusive right to use trademarks of the British Broadcasting Corporation (“BBC”) and constituted unfair competition.

In its judgment, Beijing Intellectual Property Court held that the use of word "BBC English" and relevant logos in a prominent place on the homepage and relevant columns of its website by Iyuba is not merely a descriptive use to indicate the source of contents, but the use of "BBC English" for commercial purpose. As “BBC” is the distinctive part in words, logos, such as the “BBC English” used by Iyuba, the overall visual effect is similar to the BBC trademark in dispute, and Iyuba also provide similar services to the services for which the BBC trademark is approved to be used, it is easy to cause the public to mistakenly believe that the goods and services provided by Iyuba had a specific association with BBC, so it constitutes an infringement of the trademark in dispute.

The BBC is mainly engaged in news broadcasting, television and other industries, but also provides English-language teaching materials such as audio, video and text materials. Iyuba competes with the BBC by offering English-language content such as listening and reading materials on its website, WeChat official accounts and mobile apps, etc. The act of Iyuba involved in this case easily causes people to mistaken it for the service provided by the BBC or mistaken that Iyuba has a specific association with BBC, which constitutes confusion of “unauthorized use of another influential enterprise name (including its abbreviation, trade name, etc.)" as specified in Article 6 (2) of the Anti-unfair Competition Law.

Contributors: Yanru Chen 陈彦茹

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