Italian Clothing Company Gets Favorable
IP Verdict Against Chinese Company

IP News and Information

China Trying to Change its IP Culture

Fair or not, it’s a well-known fact that China has a bad reputation for stealing intellectual property and making cheap imitations of other companies’ and inventors’ goods. From watches to hand bags and from clothing lines to shoes and accessories, there’s no end to the number of “knock-offs” you can buy that were made in China, both in China and in many other countries around the world. While many companies have attempted to protect their intellectual property rights in China, it has been a battle full of headaches and of very few successes. However, because of that bad reputation, the Chinese government has made a concerted effort to change that culture in an attempt to give foreign companies more assurance that their IP rights will be protected.

Major Decision in China

To that end, an Italian clothing company recently won its trademark lawsuit in China. This was a big decision in the ongoing battle against trademark and patent infringement in China. The company, Moncler, which makes luxury jackets, was recently awarded just over $470,000 by the intellectual property court in China’s capital after it claimed that an apparel company in Beijing was selling knock-off products that carried the Italian company’s brand name. So how big of a decision was it? According to reports, it is believed to be the first such decision ever where the plaintiff was awarded the maximum damages under China’s new trademark protection program.

Infringement Is Bad for Business

So why is China moving in this direction? As previously mentioned its reputation as a counterfeit haven is not one the government would like to have. In order to change that reputation and the country’s general attitude toward intellectual property rights as a whole, the government created the new court specializing in intellectual property a year ago. China realized that it could no longer afford to continue allowing Chinese company’s to rip off other brands with such ease and with little or no repercussions. Of course, the constant pressure from companies from all over the world to stop the rampant counterfeiting in the county helped. The government also realized that they needed to attract more foreign capital, which would be difficult if companies continued to feel as though their products would not be protected from infringement.

Will it Be Enough to Convince the World?

For its part, Moncler is calling the decision “ground-breaking.” The company first learned of the counterfeit products and trademark infringements back in 2013, and sought the intellectual property court’s help in December of last year. The Chinese government will undoubtedly use this ruling as evidence that it is taking the rest of the world’s intellectual property infringement claims seriously. However, it will likely take more than just a single ruling to convince most countries and companies that China is really changing its course when it comes to counterfeiting. Only time will tell if China can earn other countries’ trust when it comes to IP rights.