Blue Storm rains on Pepsi's China party
Everyone thought that this was just another small-time China company stepping over the trade mark line and using Pepsi’s extremely well known ‘Blue Storm’ mark in China.
Everyone was wrong – except the alleged infringer – a small brewery near Shanghai named Zhejiang Blue
As it turned out, the alleged infringer had a trade mark registration prior dating Pepsi’s use of the mark.
Pepsi lost the subsequent trade mark infringement case (on 30 May 2007), paid 3 million yuan in damages and posted a public apology.
This sort of case can only increase confidence in the Chinese IP system. The mosquito beat the elephant.
What’s also fascinating here is the disparity between the enforcement and freedom to operate sophistication shown by Pepsi.
(Thanks to the trademark blog for bringing this to my attention.)