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December 25, 2009

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North Face wins false trademark case

THE North Face, a United States outdoor clothing and equipment brand, has won 800,000 yuan (US$117,147) compensation from three companies and a Chinese American businessman for trademark infringement.

Shanghai No. 2 Intermediate People's Court found Mei Zhaohui had forged an authorization document from The North Face and had three domestic companies produce jackets with its trademark.

The US company had registered the trademark in China in 2003.

In August 2005, Mei had the Haobai company produce a batch of jackets for him, using the forged authorization document that claimed Mei could use the trademark. Mei wanted The North Face trademark on the jackets, zippers and price tags.

Haobai transferred the task to the Baierhao company and Baierhao sub-contracted it to the White Swan company in Zhejiang Province. Altogether 17,600 jackets were ordered with a total value of 3.33 million yuan, the court heard.

White Swan was caught transporting 1,080 fake jackets to Haobai in June 2006. Before this, it had provided 8,094 to Haobai and 5,300 were in its warehouse.

The North Face asked for a compensation of more than 1.5 million yuan after it failed to reach agreement with the four defendants.

Mei told the court he had nothing to do with the production and sale of the items.

The three companies all said they didn't know the authorization document Mei showed them was false.

The court ruled that Mei and Haobai sold the jackets in partnership and should pay 600,000 yuan compensation.

The other two companies were ordered to pay 200,000 yuan because they hadn't checked the authorization document carefully.


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