Burberry has been granted a preliminary injunction against Xinboli Trading (Shanghai) Co., Ltd, the owner of the Chinese brand Baneberry, for trademark infringement by a court in the eastern Chinese city of Suzhou.
According to a report in The National Law Review, Baneberry is a fast growing brand in the China market, and has opened 40 new stores in last 18 months, while at the same time increasing its e-commerce business.
The Suzhou Intermediate People’s Court found that, although Baneberry legally obtained trademarks for its name and logo (which bears a striking resemblance to the equestrian knight used as a logo by Burberry until a rebrand in 2018) in 2009 and 2011 respectively, Burberry’s name and logo were already well-known at that point, having been in use internationally for more than 100 years.
The trial is still underway and no final ruling has been made. Although permanent injunctions are a relatively common outcome in China for cases where intellectual property infringement is proven in court, preliminary injunctions, such as this one, granted while the case remains ongoing, are rare.
The court stated there was reason for more urgency than usual in this case because of widespread complaints from Chinese consumers mistakenly buying Baneberry products in stores and online, when they intended to purchase the British luxury brand famed for its gabardine trench coats.