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Elite Model Look Wins Trademark Victory in Shanghai

On August 26, 2021, the Shanghai Intellectual Property Court announced a ruling on appeal in favor of Elite Licensing Company SA in a trademark infringement case.  Elite is the owner and licensor of trademarks including and. Xingkong Fashion Culture Communication (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. and Chongqing Xingyuan Culture Media Co., Ltd. held “elite model” competitions in 2016 and 2017, which infringed Elite’s trademarks. The Court of first instance issued an injunction and damages of 3.5 million RMB and expenses 122,302 RMB against Xingkong. Xingyuan bore joint and several liability in the amount of 300,000 RMB. On appeal, the Shanghai IP Court affirmed.

Xingkong appealed to the Shanghai Intellectual Property Court. It argued that according to an “Entrusted Agency Agreement” between T-EVENT and Elite, T-EVENT will be the sole organizer of the “China Elite Model Competition”  and the exclusive organizer of the Asia Pacific Elite Model Competition for ten years from 2009. T-EVENT has the right to use the logo involved in the case and has the right to transfer all or part of the rights and obligations under the agreement to an affiliate directly or indirectly controlled by T-EVENT. Xingkong and T-EVENT are affiliated companies. Based on the authorization of T-EVENT, Xingkong has the right to hold the competitions involved in the case. The actions of Xingkong did not constitute infringement. During the second instance, Xingkong submitted 15 pieces of evidence to prove its claim to prove that it has the right to hold the event involved.

The Shanghai Intellectual Property Court held that the trademarks licensed by T-EVENT from Elite Company are not the trademarks involved in the case, and although the “Entrusted Agency Agreement” stipulates that T-EVENT Company can transfer its rights and obligations under the agreement to an affiliated company, but should provide advance notice to Elite, which didn’t happen. Therefore, the involved event was not a model competition covered by the Entrusted Agency Agreement.   The court of first instance determined that Xingkong and Company and Xingyuan Company committed trademark infringement The factual and legal basis is correct and is maintained. The amount of compensation determined by the court of first instance based on the actual situation of the case was not improper and maintained. Accordingly, the Shanghai Intellectual Property Court made a final judgment, rejected the appeal and upheld the original judgment.

The full text of the announcement is available here (Chinese only). The actual date of the ruling was not announced.

Principal, and Director of the China Intellectual Property Practice

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