February 22, 2017
The signature shape of RIMOWA luggage was recognized as “particular ornament of famous commodity” during a civil litigation in front of Zhongshan First People’s Court (hereinafter the “Court”) in Guangdong under Art. 5.1(2) of the Anti-Unfair Competition Law (AUCL). News reports that it is the first time for RIMOWA to obtain such recognition in China. Indeed – we must admit – the application of said Art. 5.1(2) AUCL is very uncommon and, besides the Ferrero Rocher chocolates and the CROCS shoes, not many foreign brands can claim being awarded such kind of protection.
In relation to the Anti-Unfair Competition claim, it is worth notice that the Court in its verdict not only admitted that the so called grooved shape design was famous in China, but even recognized that it did have distinctive elements and did not perform essential functional effect in the meaning of the law. Unfortunately the damages awarded are only 100,000 RMB (roughly 15,000USD) + 50,000 RMB reimbursements of costs.
The case which opposed RIMOWA against AIMOWA on the ground of trademark infringement, design infringement and unfair competition was concluded in October 28, 2016 and can be found on the court decision of No.296-ZhongFirstCourtIPCivilLitigation-2015.
(HFG Law & Intellectual Property)