Of copycats & counterfeits: Moncler wins Trademark suit against Chinese Counterfeiter

mall-model-1552536In what is seen as a momentous move post the new Chinese legislation, Moncler, the Franco-Italian outwear brand, known for its luxury puffer jackets, won a trademark dispute against a local counterfeiter, Beijing Nuoyakate Gourmet.

The newly established Beijing Intellectual Property Court awarded 3 million yuan (US$ 470,000) in damages, as a result of trademark infringements by the counterfeit company.[1] It is believed to be a breakthrough development as it is the first judgement under the new Chinese Trademark Law to grant maximum statutory damages, as compared to the previously granted deficient compensations.

Case Background

Moncler first entered the Chinese market in the year 2008, and following its entrance became an instant hit. What followed was palpable – being a successful brand, the counterfeits started cropping up. In December 2014, Moncler filed a suit for trademark infringement against the counterfeit company, after discovering it was selling jackets with counterfeit Moncler logos and was trying to register several fake trademarks and domain names in China and elsewhere.

The advent of the new Trademark law (which became effective from May 2014) enabled Moncler to not only rely on increased statutory damages, but also on the new provision stipulating that when a trademark owner produces prima facie evidence showing that financial statements and documents related to infringement are kept by the infringer, the Court can order the infringer to produce them. If the infringer fails to do so, the Court can then determine the damages by referring to the trademark owner’s claim and evidence on damages.

Moncler, whose exclusive high-end clientèle is sprawled across the globe, including celebrities and royalty, hailed the ruling as a victory for its anti-counterfeit operation which it said had resulted in the investigation of more than 1,450 cases worldwide last year, leading to the seizure of more than 450,000 counterfeit products.[2]

This case clearly shows that the Chinese judicial system is cooperatively welcoming new and stricter sanctions provided by the Trademark Law, even when foreign entities are involved, who conventionally used to face obstacles in winning substantial damages.

[1] “Italy’s Moncler triumphant in China counterfeit”, Available at: http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/biz/archives/2015/11/18/2003632710

[2] “Italy’s Moncler wins China counterfeit case”, Available at: http://www.thelocal.it/20151117/italys-moncler-wins-china-counterfeit-case