Burberry Appeals China Trademark Restrictions on Leather Goods

Burberry store in Beijing, China | Source: Maosuit

BEIJING, China — Burberry Group Plc., the U.K.’s largest luxury-goods maker, is appealing a decision by Chinese regulators to restrict the company’s trademark “Check” pattern for leather goods.

The trademark office’s decision won’t take effect and there will be no change to Burberry’s use or enforcement of its trademark across leather or other products before a decision on the appeal, the company said today in an e-mailed statement.

Burberry is the latest foreign company to face regulatory hurdles in China, where the government this year has investigated baby-food brands and drug makers. Qualcomm Inc., the world’s largest maker of chips for smartphones, said this week China’s National Development and Reform Commission began an investigation related to an anti-monopoly law.

“We are confident that our appeal will be successful,” Burberry said in its statement. The China Trade Mark Office restriction is related to its “Check” trademark, which relates only to leather goods, it said.

Three calls to the information office of the Trademark Office of the State Administration for Industry & Commerce weren’t answered.

China has become increasingly important to global luxury brands, and Burberry gets about 39 percent of annual revenue from the Asia Pacific region, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Chinese consumers were the world’s biggest buyers of luxury goods in 2012, accounting for 27 percent of industry sales, according to consultant McKinsey & Co.

Infant Formula

In August, the Chinese government fined six dairy companies including Danone for fixing the prices of infant formula products, and five Shanghai-based gold retailers and a local trade association for manipulating jewelry prices.

The August fine over baby-formula price fixing, a combined 669 million yuan ($110 million) for dairy companies also including Mead Johnson Nutrition Co., was a record for violating anti-monopoly laws.

Another high-profile probe into a foreign company this year centered around London-based GlaxoSmithKline Plc. Four senior executives from the company were detained in July on suspicion of economic crimes.

China’s state-controlled media have accused Starbucks Corp. of charging too much for coffee and said Samsung Electronics Co.’s smartphones don’t work properly.

By Penny Peng; Editors: Anjali Cordeiro, Terje Langeland, Stephanie Wong