On 17 April 2012, a news conference was held by the Supreme People's Court at Suzhou State-owned High Tec Industry Zone in Jiangsu Province, and the Ten National Intellectual Property Cases of Year 2011 (10 cases altogether) was announced in the conference, among which two cases represented by Unitalen Attorneys at Law, namely, the Lafite trademark infringement and unfair competition case (Unitalen as attorneys for French Lafite) and non-Infringement case of “Jianghuai Automotive Company” (Unitalen as attorneys for Jianghuai Automobile), were enlisted. It means that cases of Unitalen take up one fifth of the top ten cases nationwide simultaneously. This situation is unprecedented in the past selection of the Ten Cases by the Supreme People's Court. Take the BMW Case represented by Unitalen in 2009, Unitalen now has three cases selected as the Ten Intellectual Property Cases of the country. Besides, the Aupu trademark infringement and unfair competition case represented by Unitalen Attorneys at Law (Unitalen as the attorney for Hangzhou Aupu Electric Appliance Co., ltd) was also selected as one of the Fifty Typical Cases of the Country in 2011.
1.The Supreme People's Court pointed out by representative issue analysis of the Lafite trademark infringement and unfair competition case that: counterfeit is an issue that is widely concerned by the society and this case represented the Court’s effort in counterfeit combating and in intellectual property protection. The LAFITE wine produced by French Lafite Company enjoys a high reputation worldwide and the trademark “拉菲” was used when it was sold in China, but “拉菲” was not Lafite Company’s registered trademark. In the appeal trial by Hunan High People's Court , it is held that the LAFITE wine produced by French Lafite Company has enjoyed a high reputation in Chinese wine market and it shall be regarded as well-known commodity as stipulated in the Anti-Unfair Competition Law of the People's Republic of China. “拉菲” is the only corresponding Chinese name of the well-known commodity LAFITE wine and has a distinguishing character in determining the sources of commodities, so according to relavent regulations in Anti-Unfair Competition Law of the People's Republic of China, it shall be regarded as the peculiar name of the well-known commodity LAFITE wine. And thus its Chinese mark “拉菲” was protected and unfair competition such as “lifting” and “famous brand leaning” was banned effectively. Protection of the peculiar names of foreign products is explicated clearly in this case that the names shall be well known to relavant public in China. The popularity of foreign product is usually generated by the production, marketing or other operating activities in China, nevertheless the fact that the product is already well-known abroad could be regarded as a relevant consideration in evaluating its notoriety in China.
2.The Supreme People's Court pointed out by the representative issue analysis of the non-Infringement case of “Jianghuai Automotive” that: this case exemplified the pursuit and effort of People's Court in achieving the goal of “case closure with matter solution”. The case mainly involves the judgment on the issues of similar trademarks and so on. The case is not complicate in itself, however, while two giant automobile enterprises are involved and there are many associated cases involving not only civil dispute but also administrative dispute between the two parties. These disputes are of considerable social influence. A simple judgment on this case can not completely solve the disputes between the parties; a comprehensive settlement may be more beneficial for future development and cooperation of the two parties. Bearing that in mind and based on sufficient explanation, the Supreme People's Court guided the two parties to reach a settlement, and both parties have voluntarily withdrawn actions for disputes. The settlment of the case shows that as to the cases with which many associated lawsuits and disputes are involved, and which are very socially influential, the concept of “judge for People” shall be followed and case handling principle of “mediation first, judgment and settlement combined ” shall be applied wisely to achieve proper closure of the case, to try to thoroughly solve the disputes between the parties and to realize real harmony of social effect and legal effect.