Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Similar Mark

Our trademark act aims to protect trademark owners from competitors who use a similar mark. What is a similar mark? Allow me to give an example of a recent case between Starbucks and Shanghai Xingbake Cafe.

Starbucks is a well known coffee brand. The Starbucks trademark was registered in China in 1996. Starbucks operated in Beijing, China since 1999. Xingbake operated in Shanghai since 2000. The word 'Xing' means 'star' in Chinese and 'bake' is verbally similar to bucks. The logo for Xingbake shares the same green as Starbucks.

Starbucks sued Xingbake for using a similar mark and imitating the design of its cafe. A Shanghai court fined Shanghai Xingbake Cafe, 500,000 yuan, and has ordered it to change its name because it’s too similar to Starbucks.

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