Deere & Company is a registrant of a colour combination mark in China in reapect of tractors, harvesting machines and related goods. Deere sued JOTEC International Heavy Industry (Qingdao) Co Ltd and JOTCE International Heavy Industry (Beijing) Co Ltd for Infringing Deere's right to the c:olour combinatlon mark.
The court ordered the two defelldants to stop infringement, and pay RMB450,000 ($74,000) for Deere's damages and other reasonable fees. This Is the fint court ruling on Infringement on an exc:lnslve right to u1e a registered c:olour combination mark sinc:e it was included in the scope of protection by the current Trademark Law In China.
Deere founded its subsidiary company in China in 1997, and since then has produced tractors e.ad harvesting machine. whJch all use the colour c:ombination of green body, yellow wheel':.China's Trademark Office granted approval of Deere's registration of Its colour combination mark (upper portion in green, lower portion in yellow) in international classes 7 and 12in respect ofthe goods tractors, harvesting machines ,lawnmowers, agriculture machines, etc" on March 21,2009.
Deere claimed that It had always used. the colour combination mark on its harvesting machines. The mark had become Deere's important identification and was well rec:ogniled. by consumers and Industry experts, and was very distinctive and famous. Deere found that the two defendants had used the aame mark on their products during production, sale and promotion on their websltes since 2011, which c:nstltuted Infringement upon its exclusive right to use the registered mark. Deere also claimed compensation and reasonable expenses of RMBSOO, 000 ($83,000).
The two defendanta argued that Deere's mark was a deaign mark with two colours claimed,. not a colour combination mark, and that the c:oloura they used on their products were different from those in Deere's mark, and therefore would not millead consumers.
Beijing No. 2 Intermediate Court opined that the use of a colour combmation mark is wually asaodated wlth goods, e.ad the real form of the colour in use c:an be changed according to the shape of the products. In the reglltratlon application form. filed. with the China Trademark Office, Deere expressly explained that the mark was a c:olour combination mark, and also submitted a written specification indicating the specific position and composition in which the colours were used, namely green for the body, yellow for the wheel".
The position and compoaition of the colours used in the harveating machines the two defendants produced and sold were the same as those of Deere's products, and the colours were almost the same. Accordingly, on December 24, 2013, the court ruled that the two dfendants should stop infringements and pay damages.
Judicial rulings on the Internet
On November 21 2013, the Supreme People's Court of China promulgated Regulations of Publications of Judicial Rulings on the Internet, which came into effect on January 1, 2014.
The Supreme People'a Court of China set up a website (http:/www.court. gov.cn/zgcpwsw/) for publications of effective Judicial rulings made by people's courts at different levels across China. Judicial rulings, except for those related to national, private secreta, juvenile delinquency, or concluded through mediatlon, must be uploaded by designated staff of the courts to the website within seven days after the rulings become effective. The regulations abo stipulate that published ruling are irrevocable and Irreplaceable.
Following the recent trend of reforms promoted by the ruling party and the central government this measure of openneu will significantly enhance the public's right to know and help to safeguard judicial justice under the public's supervition.