Burberry Appealing Trademark Decision in China

by T+B Blog Team on December 2, 2013

Burberry plans to appeal a recent Chinese Trademark Office decision to revoke the company’s iconic red, tan, and black Haymarket Check pattern. The Trademark Office decision relates only to leather goods using the pattern and will not take effect before the appeal is heard.

Last year, Chinese manufacturer Lubida Polo Production Co., applied to the Chinese Trademark Office to revoke Burberry’s claim to the pattern, which in China dated back to 2009. Lubida Polo, which markets products under the brand name Polo Santa Roberta, claimed that Burberry was monopolizing parts of Scotland’s cultural heritage and had not used the Haymarket Check pattern in China for a period of three years.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Chen Beiyuan, an attorney representing the opposing brand, Polo Santa Roberta, told China Real Time: “The check pattern is just a simple geometric pattern. I don’t think Burberry has the right to keep it exclusively and ban other producers from using it.”

In a company statement, Burberry said: “The Burberry Check remains a registered trademark exclusively owned by Burberry and no other parties can use the mark without Burberry’s proper authorization. Burberry always takes the strongest possible action against those who use its trademarks unlawfully.” Burberry has also fought the Polo Santa Roberta brand in courts in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

The pattern under dispute is officially called “Burberry” by the Scottish Register of Tartans. The Scottish national database of tartans listing says: “It has become so much part of the Burberry image that it has been trademarked and can now be regarded as a Corporate tartan.”

We’ve seen many trademark disputes in China over the past year involving major brands like Apple, Danone, and ex-NBA basketball player Michael Jordan. How do you think the Burberry dispute will end?

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