Mast-Jägermeister SE Wins 10 Million RMB at Beijing IP Court for Trademark Infringement and Unfair Competition
On December 15, 2022, the Beijing Intellectual Property Court announced that Mast-Jägermeister SE was awarded 10 million RMB, an injunction and apology from Shengluo Company (Qingdao) Wine Co., Ltd. (简称圣罗拉公司), Hefei Puyuan Commerce & Trade Co., Ltd. (合肥葡园商贸有限公司), and Chang XX for trademark infringement and unfair competition. The defendants manufactured liqueur and used the logos “野格哈古雷斯” (Yege Ha Gu Lei) and “YEGO HUNTER” as well as deer head graphics on labels affixed to the liqueur bottles.
The plaintiff, Mast-Jägermeister SE, is the registrant of trademarks including G795174 and G1291858 for Jägermeister and sold Jägermeister in China as early as 2003.
The plaintiff found that the defendant Shengluo Company had used such logos as “野格哈古雷斯,” “deer head graphics” and “YEGO HUNTER” on the labels and caps of the liqueur bottles it produced and sold, and used “YEGO HUNTER” on its official website. The plaintiff alleged that the logos infringed the plaintiff’s right to exclusive use of registered trademarks. The defendant Shengluo Company used the same or similar packaging and decoration as the plaintiff’s packaging and decoration, and used the name of “Germany Jager Shenglu Group Co., Ltd.” to mislead people into thinking that the alleged infringing product was the plaintiff’s product or that it had a relationship with the plaintiff, which constitutes unfair competition. The three defendants claimed that they used their own registered trademarks, that is, the trademark No. 31027236 “野格哈古雷斯” registered by the defendant Chang, and did not infringe the plaintiff’s trademark rights.
The Beijing IP Court held:
1. The actions of the defendants violated the plaintiff’s well-known trademark rights. The plaintiff’s “Jägermeister” trademark is well known to the relevant public in my country on liqueur products and has constituted a well-known trademark. The defendant, as the person in charge of the liqueur company, should have known the plaintiff’s trademark, but applied for the trademark “野格哈古雷斯” similar to the plaintiff’s “Jägermeister ” trademark on liqueur products and other similar products; the intention of freeriding on the plaintiff’s brand is very obvious. Therefore, the three defendants’ use of the “野格哈古雷斯” trademark constituted an infringement of the plaintiff’s well-known trademark rights.
2. The behavior of the defendants also violated the plaintiff’s right to exclusive use of other registered trademarks. The allegedly infringing “野格哈古雷斯” liqueur product is the same or similar product as the approved use of the 7 trademarks claimed by the plaintiff. The defendants used the logos such as “野格狩猎者”, “YEGO HUNTER” and “YEGE” on the liqueur products, which constitute similar trademarks to the plaintiff’s earlier registered trademarks. Therefore, the three defendants’ use of the above-mentioned logos on commodities, packaging, official websites and various internet platforms constituted an infringement of the plaintiff’s right to exclusive use of registered trademarks.
3. The behaviors of Shengluo Company and Hefei Puyuan Commerce & Trade Co., Ltd. constitute unfair competition including causing confusion and false advertising.
4. Since Shengluo Company and Chang did not make a reply after receiving the cease and desist letter from the plaintiff, and continued to commit the infringement in question, and both defendants had been sentenced to assume legal liabilities for trademark infringement before, their acts constituted intentional infringement with serious circumstances. The plaintiff’s claim that the two defendants should be subject to punitive damages was upheld by the court.
The full text of the announcement from the Beijing IP Court is available here (Chinese only).
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