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Court says firm can use Chivas Regal for clothing

By Richard Fu (Shanghai Daily)

16:39, March 12, 2012

A Beijing court has rejected a petition by the maker of Scotch whisky Chivas Regal to strip a Chinese garment maker of the right to use the brand.

It's the latest in a series of trademark disputes in China that have also involved French luxury group Hermes, NBA legend Michael Jordan, and Apple Inc's iPad.

The Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People's Court ruled in favor of the Trademark Appeal Board under the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, which was brought to court by Chivas Brothers after allowing a Zhejiang Province businessman to use Chivas Regal as a brand on its clothing.

The man from Wenzhou, identified by his surname Wen, in 2003 applied to the trademark authority to register Chivas Regal as a trademark for garments, shoes and caps. Chivas Brothers challenged several times but was rejected by the trademark board, according to the Legal Evening News.

The board has said the Zhejiang man didn't violate Chinese trademark law because the brand is used in different kinds of products. The Beijing court said Chivas Brothers failed to establish that the spirits brand was "well-known" in China before the registration of Chivas Regal clothing in 2003, which would have been grounds to deny the application.

Chivas Brothers, owned by French group Pernod Ricard, also argued that the company has also used Chivas Regal on clothing. But the Chinese court said it found that the brand was only printed on the uniform clothing for the whisky maker's salespeople, not on clothing for commercial use.

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