Trademark registration in China is managed by the Trademark Office of the State Intellectual Property Office, and the scope of protection is nationwide. The registration of enterprise names is the responsibility of the industry and commerce department, and the scope of protection of enterprise names is regional.
This means that it is entirely possible for a registered trademark to be registered as an enterprise name by others, and for its own enterprise name to be the same as that of others or to be registered as a trademark by others. Let's take a look at several cases of registered trademarks colliding with enterprise names:
The business name is the same as the trademark registration.
Case 1: The defendant's prominent use of an enterprise name consistent with the plaintiff's registered trademark name constitutes trademark infringement;
Case 2: Although the defendant did not highlight the use of enterprise name, improper simplified use was considered to constitute unfair competition.
Case 3: The defendant was relatively lucky, relying on historical sources and using evidence to register the business name as a trademark with difficulty.
Case 4: The defendant was relatively unfortunate. The failure to register the trademark in time and insufficient evidence of prior trademark use directly led to his being convicted of infringement and compensated for the loss of 5 million yuan. How can enterprises avoid this phenomenon?
1. The establishment of an enterprise shall be synchronized with trademark registration to prevent the enterprise name from being registered as a trademark by others.
Many time-honored enterprises in our country did not have trademark awareness at the beginning of their operation. Although they have the function of indicating the source of goods after a long period of operation, they can only be protected according to unregistered trademarks, and their protection can only be proved according to the history of the enterprise, the honor they have won and the evidence of trademark use, which is very difficult. And it is very easy for others to register the trademark, so the enterprise brand that the enterprise itself is struggling with is handed over to others.
2. In the enterprise management, pay attention to retain valid evidence of trademark use
Trademark, as a direct manifestation of the goodwill of an enterprise, must be based on "use". Once a registered trademark is not used for three consecutive years, it is easy for others to apply for revocation. However, as unregistered trademarks, visibility can only be obtained through use. Evidence such as the duration of trademark use, scope of application, and specific methods of use used to judge trademark visibility directly determine whether the trademark can occupy a favorable position in later infringement or rights protection.
Therefore, retaining the evidence of trademark use plays an important role in maintaining the brand of one's own enterprise.
3. Must standardize the use of enterprise names and trademarks
During the existence of the trademark, the enterprise must use the trademark in strict accordance with the approved registration style of the registered trademark, such as change of direction, splitting, small deformation, inconsistent categories ... all constitute the nonstandard use of the trademark and risk of infringement.
In the process of using the enterprise name, although the enterprise has the right to use its own enterprise name, it needs to conform to the usage standards, highlight the use of the enterprise name or make unnecessary simplification, which is likely to be regarded as trademark use or unfair competition, thus causing the risk of being sued for infringement.
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