Burberry to appeal on “check” trademark in China

Published:  28 November, 2013

Burberry, the luxury-goods maker, said it is appealing a decision by Chinese regulators to restrict the company’s trademark on its hallmark checkered pattern for leather goods.

The Chinese regulator’s decision will not take effect and there will be no change to Burberry’s use of its trademark for leather or other products before a decision on the appeal, the company said in a statement on November 28.

Companies from Apple to Danone have fought legal battles over brand rights in China. Apple paid $60 million last year to settle a two-year-old dispute regarding the iPad trademark in the Asian nation with Proview International Holdings Ltd, which had applied to Chinese customs to block local shipments of the US company’s tablets.

“In China, its been very difficult traditionally for major companies to protect their brand,” said Corbett Wall, a Shanghai-based managing partner of +CW Associates, a retail consultancy in China. “The whole idea of intellectual property is still at its beginning stages.”

Burberry is “confident that our appeal will be successful,” the company said in its statement. The China Trade Mark Office restriction is related to its “Check” trademark, which relates only to leather goods, it said.

Burberry’s Asia unit won a court case in Hong Kong in 2010 against Polo Santa Roberta Ltd, a maker of leather bags and belts, over three check pattern designs registered between April 2006 and January 2008.

China has become increasingly important to global luxury brands, and Burberry gets about 39% of annual revenue from the Asia Pacific region, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Chinese consumers were the world’s biggest buyers of luxury goods in 2012, accounting for 27% of industry sales, according to consultant McKinsey & Co.

Source: Bloomberg

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