DELL mark not well known, says Chinese court


The Beijing First Intermediate People's Court has dismissed an appeal filed by Dell Inc against a decision refusing its application to cancel the mark DE ER, which is similar to the Chinese transliteration of the DELL mark.

Xing Chan Technology Applications Academy (Xing Chan) registered the trademark DE ER in relation to computer products on February 27 1997. Dell filed an application with the Trademark Review and Arbitration Board (TRAB) of the State Administration of Industry and Commerce, seeking to invalidate Xing Chan's DE ER registration. Dell claimed that it had registered a series of DELL trademarks as early as 1991. It argued that DELL is both its company name and a well-known mark, and maintained that, before it had begun to sell DELL products in China, it had used the Chinese transliteration 'De Er' in the name of the joint venture through which it operated, namely De Er Computer JV. It argued that Xing Chan's DE ER mark infringed its prior rights in the company name.

TRAB found against Dell and Dell brought an action in the Beijing First Intermediate People's Court, seeking cancellation of the earlier decision and an order that TRAB invalidate the DE ER registration. The court held that Dell had not provided sufficient evidence to establish that DELL was a well-known mark or that it had made relevant use of the Chinese transliteration 'De Er'. Consumers would not be confused by Xing Chan's use of the mark DE ER. Accordingly, the court rejected Dell's claim.

Jin Ling, Rouse & Co International, Beijing

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