The Japanese company YKK Joint-Stock has finally won the battle on the trademark “YKK” which lasted for ten years, according to the final judgment of the Supreme People Court of China.
In March 2004, Li Bo Company, specializing in manufacturing and distribution of automobile parts, applied to register the “YKK” trademark to Chinese Trademark Office (CTO). In January 2006, CTO publicized the
“YKK” trademark after it was preliminary approved. Afterwards, YKK Joint- Stock filed a trademark opposition application to CTO.
On December 16, 2009, CTO made verdict ruling that although the YKK trademark of YKK Joint- Stock registered on “zipper” products has high reputation, the products on which trademarks certified to be used were quite different in function and use. Therefore, CTO maintained the registration of YKK trademark as it would not cause confusion among the consumers about the origin of products.
Through the subsequent trademark opposition rehear and administrative proceedings, Trademark Review and Adjudication Board, Beijing No.1 Intermediate People’s Court and Beijing High People’ s Court all affirmed the original verdict of the trademark registration, YKK Joint- Stock was not satisfied with the final judgment and appealed to the Supreme People’s Court of China for rehearing.
The Supreme Court reheard the case and held that it is difficult to judge if interior decorations of vehicles and zippers are similar or of the same category, however the evidences provided by YKK Joint-Stock showed that zippers can be used as vehicle’ s interior decoration and zippers and vehicle’s interior decorations are the upstream and downstream products. As YKK is a fabricated word and is conspicuous and based on the facts that “YKK” trademark on zippers products already have high reputation and zippers and interior decorations of vehicles are the upstream and downstream products, they are confirmed to have high relevance.
Therefore, based on the fact YKK trademark on zipper products is well-known, it can be protected for “interior decorations of vehicles”.