ASICS wins patent case against Chinese brand

ASICS recently scored a court victory against a Chinese brand that was attempting to use branding that drew more than a passing resemblance to ASCIS’s striped logo.

The decision, rendered by the China National Intellectual Property Administration’s (CNIPA) Reexamination and invalidation Department invalidated a patent held by Qiaodan Sports Co. Ltd, was in conflict with ASICS’ pre-existing rights.

The crux of the legal kerfuffle is a 2015 design patent awarded to Qiaodan Sports in April of that year for the visual ornamental attributes of one its sneakers, which included a striped design that is suspiciously visually similar to one that ASICS has a trademark for in China. The July 7 CNIPA decision that Qiaodan Sports patent makes unauthorised use of a design very close to that of ASICS, which is a violation of Chinese Patent Law which clearly states it does not allow the issuing of patents that “conflict with the lawful rights acquired by others prior to the date of [patent] application.”

ASICS’ trademark is registered in Class 25 , which covers ”running shoes, football shoes, gym shoes and other products”. As Qiaodan Sports’ covered the design of a pair of sneakers, the panel ruled “the types of products used by the two are the same.” 

CNIPA said there are some differences between ASICS’ trademark and that of Qiaodan Sports sneaker, specifically “the [motif in the] patent involved has a single horizontal line, while the registered trademark has two horizontal lines”, they are visually similar enough to invalidate the patent.

ASICS trademark (left) Qiaodan Sports’ patented sneaker (right)

Additionally CNIPA panel said “it is easy for the relevant public to confuse the goods of the patent in question and the goods of the registered trademark owner.”

Qiaodan Sports is no stranger to patent and copyright issues. This was the same company that was engaged in a recently adjudicated matter with Michael Jordan over the name “Jordan” .

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