22 April 2022
Intellectual and industrial property
Ariston Group has obtained a landmark victory in China in an infringement case against two Chinese companies counterfeiting its ARISTON trademark. The decision was issued by the Guangzhou Intellectual Property Court on 15th March 2022.
The Court ordered the two companies and their legal representative to immediately cease the counterfeiting activities of the Ariston trademark, also inhibiting the use of the same as domain name as well as trade name and company name, and has ordered the three subjects jointly and severally to pay substantial damages.
The legal representative of a company is rarely declared jointly and severally liable with the latter for damages in China, but in this case the responsibility of the legal representative and shareholder was motivated by the serious behavior in bad faith carried out by the legal representative. In fact, the legal representative had managed to open and close several legal entities as well as filing for several trademarks similar to the ARISTON trademark, for the sole purpose of counterfeiting.
Furthermore, the Chinese Court has recognized the Ariston trademark as well-known, a declaration indeed rare in China due to the high burden of proof required, including the degree of awareness of the public about the trademark, not limited to the consumers of the product bearing the trademark. The declaration of the status of notorious trademark, after the first decision of the Nanjing Court in 2015, is therefore an even rarer event that confirms how the Ariston brand has become known by a relevant part of Chinese consumers, beyond the product sector of belonging.
Franzosi Dal Negro Setti has assisted Ariston Thermo Group with a team composed of partner Federica Santonocito and the Head of China desk Giacomo Balletti.