The Shanghai First People’s Intermediate Court has ordered the Nantong Xishu Fruit Trading Co Ltd to pay damages to Zespri Group Ltd, the world’s largest kiwi fruit marketer, for infringement of its trade mark (pictured left).
Zespri had registered its ZESPRI sun logo as a trade mark in China.
Zespri discovered Nantong Xishu Fruit Trading Co Ltd selling kiwi fruit using very similar logos, with the same font and colours, just substituting ZNISHIO and NISHIO for ZESPRI.
Despite Zespri getting Shanghai authorities to seize packing boxes and labels (something which would be almost impossible for a brand owner to do under Australian law), Nantong Xishu defiantly continued to use the logos.
Zespri sued Nantong Xishu in the Shanghai First People’s Intermediate Court.
The court sided with Zespri, saying that the marks used by Nantong Xishu on its kiwi fruit were so similar to Zespri’s marks that consumers were likely to believe that Nantong Xishu’s products originated from, or were connected with, Zespri.
It ordered Nantong Xishu to pay Zespri compensation and a significant part of its legal costs.
This case is yet another in a line of recent examples (see Louis Vuitton case) where Chinese courts show that they are very willing to protect trade mark owners.