Toyota's Crown Troubled by a Trademark Dispute

China IP News
China IP News  ————————————————

As a saying goes, one nation can't have two queens. Recently, because of a crown trademark dispute, two automobile companies entered the tribunal room and sought legal support. One protagonist in this story is Toyota, an automobile giant, its crown series have been very popular among the consumers. The other is a Hubei based company, Wuhan Municipal Environment and Sanitation Machinery Company(hereinafter as Wuhan Company), a special vehicle manufacturer. Wuhan Company's products were popular among consumers nationwide and in Southeast Asian markets, such as Indonesia and Bangladesh,etc.

Existing materials show that the Wuhan Company, former Wuhan municipal machinery company, was founded 40 years ago and is a main supplier of mechanical products for municipal environment and sanitation use, such as suction sewage truck, cleaning tanker and garbage truck. Crown was Wuhan Company's legally certified trademark.

In December 2014, Toyota challenged Wuhan Company's trademark and sought revocation of it on grounds of disuse for three consecutive years. However, its request was rejected. In November 2015, Wuhan Company brought Toyota and a Wuhan based automobile dealer to the court on grounds of trademark infringement. The ever defendant became accuser. Wuhan Company held that they had filed the NO. 217925 crown and its figures trademarks on Class 12, products of special vehicle, and their filings were certified in December 1984. Up to now, these marks are within validity. Wuhan Company held that their marks were once honored as Hubei provincial famous trademarks and they never disused the marks on their products. However, Toyota has always used the crown character as their commercial brand since the establishment of its Tianjin branch. Toyota has infringed the exclusive right of the Wuhan Company's trademark.

Wuhan Company requested the court to order the defendant to cease using crown as trademarks, split the crown trademark and its figure, destroy relative publicity materials, and compensate 2 million yuan for economic loss. Hubei Wuhan Intermediate People's Court has handled the case.

CIP News will follow the update of this case.

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