The trademarks “Heineken” and “Xi Li” (the Chinese name for Heineken) should be recognised as well-known trademarks in China, a Court in Guangzhou ruled in May. It concluded that the manufacturer of Heineken sewing machines was guilty of trademark infringement and ordered the company to pay 72,500 dollar in damages.
According to the Court, the Chinese company was using trademarks identical to the one that Dutch brewer Heineken had already registered in China. Consumers would therefore associate these trademarks with the well-known Heineken trademark or think that Heineken had given permission for the Chinese company to use it.
It’s extremely important for major brands like Heineken to be awarded the status of ‘well-known trademark’ in China since this makes it much easier for them to take action against companies that register or use similar trademarks to theirs for completely different products.
The Chinese infringer is nevertheless still trying to make mileage out of the situation: it’s invited Heineken to buy the sewing machine trademarks for more than $ 400,000, otherwise it will lodge an appeal.
Heineken and Xi Li: well-known trademarks in China