October 16, 2023 is the 43rd World Food Day. Grain is the lifeblood of the people and the treasure of the country. Food security is the foundation of people's livelihoods. Grain is one of the bulk agricultural products. To enhance the brand benefits of grain and increase the added value of agricultural products, it is necessary to promote farmers' income, assist rural revitalization, and better meet consumers' demand for high-quality agricultural products. Geographical indications are an important support for the growth and strength of agricultural product brands. Since the implementation of the identification of agricultural product geographical indications, the protection of agricultural geographical indications has been widely valued. Due to its higher market popularity and better economic benefits, it is more prone to the phenomenon of false, false, and malicious attachment. Recently, the Beijing Intellectual Property Court has concluded a trademark case involving food related geographical indications.
Brief Introduction to the Case
N Agricultural Products Professional Cooperative has applied for the registration of the trademark "Chongming Island Rice" (hereinafter referred to as the involved trademark) with No. 33550738 on the 30th category of "rice" goods. Company S filed a request for invalidation of the trademark with the China National Intellectual Property Administration on the grounds that the trademark was deceptive and violated Item 7, Paragraph 1, Article 10 of the Trademark Law of the People's Republic of China (revised in 2013) (hereinafter referred to as the Trademark Law of 2013).
N Agricultural Products Professional Cooperative: Why is my "Chongming Island Rice" trademark invalid? Give me a reason to kiss~
Company S: After years of operation, the public brand "Chongming Rice" in this area has been widely popular in the market. If you want to do high imitation, you still need to see if you can pass the legal barrier!
After examination, the China National Intellectual Property Administration made a ruling concerning the case and determined that the trademark in dispute constituted the situation referred to in Item 7, Paragraph 1, Article 10 of the Trademark Law of 2013. N Agricultural Products Professional Cooperative disagreed with the ruling and filed a lawsuit with the court. The court upheld the ruling in both the first and second instances, and the trademark involved was declared invalid.
According to the provisions of Article 10, Paragraph 1, Item 7 of the Trademark Law of 2013, any mark that is deceptive and may cause the public to misunderstand the quality or origin of the goods shall not be used as a trademark. To determine whether the mark applied for trademark registration belongs to the mark that cannot be used as a trademark as stipulated in the preceding paragraph, one should start from the general level and cognitive ability of the public, and combine with the goods designated for use of the mark to determine whether the meaning conveyed by the disputed mark in the application for trademark registration is inconsistent with the quality, function, and other characteristics or origin of the designated goods, Is it sufficient to create a misconception among the public about the characteristics or origin of the product.
The trademark involved in this case is the text "Chongming Island Rice". As is well known, Chongming Island is an island located at the mouth of the Yangtze River in the northern part of Shanghai, China. Due to its unique natural environment, its agricultural products, including rice, have high consumer recognition and market awareness.
According to the evidence in this case, "Chongming Rice" has been registered as a geographical indication certification trademark on Class 30 rice products. The relevant geographical indication management rules also reflect the close relationship between Chongming Rice products and the geographical location, climate and other natural conditions of Chongming Island. The trademark logo in question was designated to be used on the "rice" product in the form of a place name on Chongming Island and a rice product name, but the trademark registrant failed to prove that its product met the standards of "Chongming rice". Therefore, the trademark involved in the case can easily lead consumers to misunderstand the quality and origin of their products, and is classified as a deceptive trademark within the meaning of Article 10, Paragraph 1, Item 7 of the Trademark Law of 2013.
Geographical indications are an important intellectual property right that serves as a common commercial identifier for specific products within the relevant production area. They typically have high commercial value and have positive significance in promoting the development of regional characteristic industries.
The dispute in this case is related to the provision of Article 10, Paragraph 1, Item 7 of the Trademark Law regarding deceptive marks. The specific quality of geographical indication products is closely related to their place of origin. If the business entity of the product outside the place of origin registers and uses the mark, it will not only harm the interests of the geographical indication place of origin operator, but also cause confusion and misidentification of the product's source, quality, and other characteristics by consumers. This is a deceptive situation as stipulated in Article 10, Paragraph 1, Item 7 of the Trademark Law.
Note: Source "Zhichan Beijing"
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