Carrefour sues Chinese supermarket chain over name

09:01, August 25, 2010      

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What? Already 160 Carrefour stores in that city? The Paris-based supermarket giant was left in wide-eyed astonishment when it conducted market research in Fuyang city, East China's Anhui province.

Carrefour SA has filed a lawsuit against Anhui Jiale Supermarket Chain Co Ltd and its subsidiaries in Fuyang, claiming they violated the rule of fair competition and infringed upon the Carrefour trademark.

The local supermarket chain was accused of illegally using the logo "Jialefu," the Chinese version of "Carrefour," in their company name and business activities.

The Hefei Intermediate People's Court has accepted the lawsuit. The court hearing, which started on Aug 18, is still under way.

Carrefour claims that the Jiale supermarkets use a blue logo similar to Carrefour's on their shop signs, price tags, receipts, and shopping bags. This is likely to cause consumer confusion as to the source of the supermarkets, Carrefour contends.

The French retailer has requested the court to order the Jiale Company to change its logo and pay Carrefour 6 million yuan ($882,164) in compensation.

Jiale, established in 2002, was initially registered as Anhui Fuyang Jialefu Business and Commerce Co Ltd. The company changed its name from "Jialefu" to "Jiale" in August 2009.

To date, Jiale has opened more than 160 supermarkets under its name in Fuyang city, most of which are scattered in nearby towns and countryside.

Jiale claims it has not infringed on Carrefour's trademark since the company changed its name from "Jialefu" to "Jiale" before the lawsuit was filed.

Jiale also says that Carrefour's Chinese logo "Jialefu" literally means "happy family" in Chinese, and it lacks the identifying features of a distinctive trademark.

Since Carrefour entered the Chinese mainland market in 1995, it has set up 157 stores and plans to increase the number to 185 by the end of this year.

Source: China Daily

(Editor:王寒露)

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