PENFOLDS WIN: CHINA'S SUPREME COURT DECLARES "RUSH RICH" BRAND INVALID
By Siulan Law Mathews DipWSET
Source: Rush Rich
Owner of Penfolds brand, Treasury Wine Estates (TWE), has secured a landmark win against the Rush Rich brand in the Supreme People’s Court of China, ending a six-year legal battle against Rush Rich’s alleged copycat operation.
The court found that the Rush Rich brand with its Chinese name 奔富, which shares the same two Chinese characters with Penfolds’ brand name in Chinese, sounds all too similar and should be declared invalid.
China’s highest court ruled that the owner of the Rush Rich brand, East Bright Sunshine (Jinjiang) Import & Export Co, has acted in “bad faith” by registering that brand name.
As a matter of fact, the same company had also registered a number of trademarks for other luxury brands including Bentley.
TWE started filing infringement cases against the Rush Rich brand in China and Australia in 2016.
In one of the cases, the Shanghai’s Pudong Court ruled in 2019 that Rush Rich’s owner has engaged in unfair competition by misleading Chinese consumers to believe that they have a relationship with the Penfolds brand.
Rush Rich was made to pay a compensation of RMB1.4 million (USD204,400) to TWE, but the Shanghai ruling did not stop the company using the brand as did the recent Supreme Court ruling.
TWE's managing director, Tom King, thanked Chinese authorities for their commitment to protecting the integrity of the Penfolds brand in China.
“Our long-term commitment to China, together with international legal protections to prevent infringement of our trademarks, gives our consumers the confidence to continue enjoying award-winning quality wine from the Penfolds collection,” King said.
“We’ll spare no effort to protect our brands and will pursue our rights to the highest courts where necessary,” said Anna Olsen, TWE’s global director of intellectual property.
Wine Australia also welcomed the court decision, saying that a failure in stopping copycat activities could have long term effects on Australian wine exports.
“The protection of Australian wine brands overseas is essential to maintaining Australia’s exceptional reputation for quality and authenticity in the global marketplace,” said Rachel Triggs, Wine Australia’s general manager of ESG and market access.
(the writer can be contacted at: email@example.com)
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