The Shan Zhai culture, IP theft, "borrowed ideas," and fake products still present ongoing issues for many foreign brands and companies operating in the Chinese market. During this breakfast seminar, Lotus Bakeries China (“LOTUS”), a Belgium-based company, will share their first-hand experience of dealing with copycats. Following a three year lawsuit, LOTUS managed to successfully win an intellectual property rights lawsuit against three Chinese companies.
With the rising popularity of its caramelized biscuits, for which LOTUS is famous, in recent years the company has found that many companies in China and elsewhere have infringed upon its exclusive trademark rights by profiting from LOTUS' reputation through and copying and imitating its famous commodities' trade dress.
In order to protect its legitimate interests, LOTUS brought a trademark rights infringement and unfair competition action to LiLa, Weimeng and Youla Branch in May 2014 and obtained favorable appeal judgments end of 2017. This is an important step forward following the promise of the Chinese government to improve property right regulations.
During this breakfast seminar the General Manager of Lotus Bakeries Asia, Mr. Ronald Drieduite, will discuss the key disputes of this case and track their claims and support in court and discuss. This case shows that comprehensive argument over the identification of whether the trademark is distinctive and whether it is used at law, and over the identification of the unique trade dress of the well-known commodity plays a role in guiding similar cases.
Official statement: Lotus Bakeries Winning Intellectual Property Rights Lawsuits
Since it foundation in 1932, the Belgium-based company LOTUS has engaged in the production and sales of biscuits and pastries. Its caramelized biscuit has been reputed as a very delicious food in Belgium and was exhibited at the 2010 (Shanghai) World Expo as the representative commodity of the Belgian Pavilion.Lotus Bakeries is a dynamic, international oriented company with production facilities in Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Sweden and sixteen own sales organizations in Europe, America and Asia. The shares of Lotus Bakeries are listed on Euronext – Brussels.
With the rising popularity of its caramelized biscuits, in recent years LOTUS has found that many companies in China and elsewhere have infringed upon its exclusive trademark rights by profiting from LOTUS' reputation through and copying and imitating its famous commodities' trade dress. Shanghai Xuhui District People’s Court held that LOTUS's uniquely designed caramelized biscuit package can be identified as the famous commodity’s unique dress as it has distinctive features to distinguish it from other commodities’ trade dress and serves to identify the source of commodity with great popularity in China because of long-term sales and promotion; as a rival of LOTUS, Lila, Weimeng and Youla Branch should have been aware of this. Therefore, it was ruled that Lila and Weimeng should immediately stop their infringement upon LOTUS's exclusive trademark rights, stop using LOTUS's unique package and trade dress for its famous commodities, and to compensate LOTUS for economic losses and reasonable expenses in an amount of CNY 395,770.