On December 3, 2012, Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court announced judgments for six trademark cases involving well-known mark recognition, one of which is CHRYSLER GROUP LLC’s opposition appeal against the mark No. 4346189??? (JEEP CAR in Chinese characters) represented by CCPIT. The Court made its judgments in the favor of CHRYSLER GROUP LLC, and recognized CHRYSLER’s cited mark “JEEP” as well-known.

CHRYSLER GROUP LLC is one of the world’s largest and best-known auto-makers, and “JEEP” is one of its most important marks. Developed and launched during the World War II, “JEEP” has become one of the most well-received brands in today’s multi-purpose vehicles market. As early as in 1979 when China and the United States of America established diplomatic relations, American Motors Corporation, Chrysler’s predecessor in interest with regard to the JEEP mark, started its joint venture negotiation with Beijing Automobile Works, and founded Beijing Jeep Corporation in January 1984. CHRYSLER began to register and promote its “JEEP” marks in China since then. Due to its over-30 year constant and enormous efforts in the publicity and promotion of its “JEEP” mark, “JEEP” has obtained very high reputation and become well-known in China.

On January 14, 2008, CCPIT filed an opposition against the mark No. 4346189??? (JEEP CAR in Chinese characters) applied by a Chinese company, on the goods ““lacquers, paintings and etc.” in class 2 on behalf of CHRYSLER. The China Trademark Office made an unfavorable decision against this opposition and rejected CHRYSLER’s well-known claim for its “JEEP” mark. An appeal was then filed with the China Trademark Review and Adjudication Board in 2010. The appeal was also rejected by the China Trademark Review and Adjudication Board on the grounds that CHRYSLER’s cited mark “JEEP” had not been well-known before the filing date of the opposed mark, namely November 4, 2004. The China Trademark Review and Adjudication Board considered that even though the mark “JEEP” had obtained certain reputation on the goods “automobiles and etc.” in class 12, the designated goods of the opposed mark bear divergent differences from those of CHRYSLER’s cited mark in respect of business fields. Therefore there was no likelihood of confusion and the two trademarks could coexist.

CHRYSLER GROUP LLC appealed to Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People's Court (Court). After the trial, the Court upheld CHRYSLER’s well-known claim for its cited mark “JEEP”, and cancelled the Appeal Board’s decision regarding the appeal of opposition against the trademark App. No.4346189. The Court confirms that CHRYSLER GROUP LLC’s mark “JEEP” has obtained very high reputation in the field of multi-purpose vehicles, and has been widely known among the relevant public in China. “JEEP” mark was included in List of Priority Trademarks compiled by the China Trademark Office in 2000. According to the book Interpretations of the China Trademark Law compiled by the China Trademark Office, “JEEP” was recognized as well-known mark among the first batch of foreign marks that were recognized as well-known trademarks in the 1980s. Chrysler also filed many other evidences to support their claim. Therefore, the Court considers that the evidences submitted by CHRYSLER GROUP LLC meet the requirement for well-known recognition and recognized CHRYSLER’s mark No. 1030611 “JEEP” as well-known in China.

This case is handled by our trademark attorney Chumeng (Jessica) XU and her team.

The judgment of the case regarding the well-known recognition of “JEEP” mark represented by CCPIT, together with other five cases involving well-known mark recognition were announced in public by Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court on December 3, 2012.

Ever since the implementation of China Trademark Law on December 1, 2001, Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court has adjudicated 1173 cases involving the litigant’s claim for well-known trademark recognition, among which only 109 trademarks were recognized as well-known.

After the announcements, Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court held a press conference themed as “Strengthening judicial protection of well-known mark”. The Court introduced the general situations of its trials on the well-known mark recognition and highlighted the above six cases. China’s legal system once again showed its determination in stopping enterprises or individuals from cybersquatting other parties’ trademarks and its efforts in the protection of well-known marks. The announcements of the six cases have drawn wide media attention. China’s many major media like CCTV, Beijing TV, Legal Mirror, China Trademark Weekly, People.com.cn, Xinhuanet.com,cn, Chinadaily.com.cn, ifeng.com.cn, Sohu.com, Sina.com and etc. have published reports on the announcements.