On 24 March 2023, Shanghai Intellectual Property Court concluded two appeal cases of infringement of "现代" trademark rights.
Zhejiang Modern New Energy Co., Ltd. is the owner of the "现代" trademark. In 2019, they discovered that Guangdong Jiajiale Electrical Appliances Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as Jiajiale Company) and Guangdong Ouqing Electrical Appliances Technology Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as Ouqing Company) used product links and product details on e-commerce shopping platforms to sell products, which contained the words "HYUNDAI/现代", thus filed a lawsuit with the court. The first instance court held that Jiajiale Company and Ouqing Company shall compensate 107,000 yuan and 258,000 yuan respectively in two cases.
Both Jiajiale Company and Ouqing Company appealed against the 1st instance judgment to Shanghai Intellectual Property Court. Shanghai IP Court found that although Jiajiale Company and Ouqing Company enjoyed the legal authorization of the "HYUNDAI" trademark, there is a certain correlation between "HYUNDAI" and "现代", and market operators should respect and reasonably avoid the previously registered Chinese trademark when translating their own trademarks into Chinese for trademark use, so as to avoid confusion among the relevant public about the source of the goods. Therefore, the Jiajiale Company's and Ouqing Company's appeals were rejected.
When market entities combine foreign language trademarks with their Chinese translations for trademark use in their business activities, they should exercise a higher duty of care and reasonably avoid prior Chinese trademarks.