Recently, because of finding that massive shops in Jinkailide International Clothing Market under Beijing Jinkailide International Clothing Market ltd. (hereinafter as Jinkailde company) selling goods infringing its trademark rights in a long-term, Louis Vuitton Malletier, Ltd. (hereinafter as LV Company) accused Jinkailde Company to Beijing Xicheng People’s Court. The industry experts expressed that, in the trademark infringement cases, trademark owners will usually accuse the shop operators and shop lessors together, asking them to assume corresponding responsibilities.
LV Company said, massive shops in Jinkailde Company were selling goods infringing its trademark rights in a long-term. However, Jinkailde Company not only did not guide and supervise the pre-standardized operation management of the involved shops, but also did not warn the involved shops or stop them on infringement. And LV Company requested the court to order compensation for economic losses and other expenses of LV, totaly 610,000 yuan. Currently, the case is under further investigation.
Cao Xinming, the Deputy Director of Intellectual Property Research Center under Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, told CIP News reporter that, at present, China has no clear legal provisions on responsibility for shops lessors. As the lessors of shops, Jinkailde Company signed the contract with the shop operators. Jinkailde Company ignored the trademark infringement to LV Company, which actually constituted contributory infringement, and should take the responsibility.
Cao Xinming also said when considering that whether the shop lessor know or should have known the infringement by the shop operators, the court should give full consideration to the rights of trade mark awareness, and whether shops infringement is obvious enough, shop operators specific relationship with the lessor, etc.. The court should make the judgments according to the reasonable circumstances, which has significance for the protection of the legitimate interests of the well-known brands. In addition, the lessor itself should improve the management system, strengthen management, and actively guide and supervise the business of shop operators.
(by Wei Xiaomao/ Zheng Siliang)