The Finland-based Sinebrychoff Ab wanted to apply for trademark protection of its BATTERY and figure through territory extension to China. As the trademark is similar to the figure of Red Cross, it was rejected by the Trademark Office(TMO) of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce(SAIC) and Trademark Review and Adjudication Board(TRAB). Then the case was entered into litigation phase. Currently, Beijing Higher People’s Court maintained the decision made by TRAB for the second trial. The trademark for registration is No.G1131821 BATTERY and its figure, which was filed for registration by Sinebrychoff in EU in August 2012. In March 2013, the company applied for trademark protection through territory extension to China. After examination, the TMO held that the trademark for registration is similar to Red Cross figure, and rejected the application.
The disgruntled Sinebrychoff filed a review application to TRAB in May 2014, but was rejected. The company then instituted an administrative lawsuit to Beijing Intellectual Property Court. It held that the trademark was constituted by a white cross figure on a black background and BATTERY. The “cross figure” is a common one and the background is black, and there was clear difference between the black and red.
The court held that the company does not specify color for the trademark, and it may choose any color in practical use. The possibility of using red across on white background does exist. Besides, although the trademark includes a character part, its figure part could cause public confusion. So the court maintained the decision made by TRAB. The disgruntled Sinebrychoff then brought the case to Beijing Higher People’s Court. The court made the decision above.