汇源 (HUIYUAN) is a well-known juice brand in China owned by Beijing Huiyuan Food and Beverage Co. Ltd. (Huiyuan). Its trademark filed in Class 32 in 1999 and registered in 2001 and the later mark have been repeatedly recognized as a well-known trademark by Trademark Office and Trademark Review and Adjudication Board since 2002.
Through assignment, Beijing Tianzhigao Brands Management & Consulting Co. Ltd.(“Tianzhigao”) became owner of mark (No. 7400527) registered in 2010 and (汇源logo) mark (No. 242665) registered in 1986 both in respect of canned products in Class 29, and since 2011 directly or indirectly licensed Heze-Huiyuan Cans Company (“Heze-Huiyuan”)to use the two trademarks on canned products including canned fruits. Quickly “汇源” （Huiyuan） cans flooded the market.
In June 2014, Huiyuan started a suit against Heze-Huiyuan for trademark infringement and unfair competition. Shandong High Court made a judgment in 2015 that Heze-Huiyuan constituted trademark infringement and unfair competition and ruled Heze-Huiyuan to compensate 3 million RMB yuan for the economic loss of Huiyuan. Both party appealed. The defendant argued that the trademarks used on their canned products were licensed by the trademark registrant.
During the second instance trial, Tianzhigao’s No.7400527 “汇源” mark was invalidated by the TRAB citing the well-known trademarks of Huiyuan, and the other mark No. 242665 was cancelled for three consecutive years of none-use.
In December 2017, the Supreme Court made the final judgement, upholding the conclusion made by Shandong High Court that Heze-Huiyuan had constituted trademark infringement and unfair competition; Heze-Huiyuan’s defense that the accused infringement act was the lawful use of the registered trademark was not supported. In determining the scope of infringing goods and the amount of indemnity, the Supreme court broadened the infringing goods from canned fruits to all canned products of the defendant. In additional consideration of the obvious malicious intention of Heze-Huiyuan, the Supreme court changed the indemnity amount to 10 million RMB yuan.