LG Trademark Disputes

On 18 May 1998, the Shenzhen Languang Electronic Industrial Corporation submitted a bill of indictment accusing the LG Electronic (China) Itd. of infringing the exclusive right of using its trademark. It is alleged, therein, that the Shenzhen Languang Electronic Industrial Corporation is a State-owned enterprise registered with the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) in 1984. Its LG trademark that has been registered with SAIC is used on the products it deals in. (See Fig. 1) In March1997, it was discovered that the trademark for which the defendant had filed its application was carried in Trademark Gazettes Nos.571 and 575, (See Fig 2) and found that the defendant was widely promoting the electronic products bearing the LG trademark. Since the LG trademark, used on the electronic products the defendant manufactured and distributed, is similar to the trademark registered by the plaintiff, it had misled consumers' for recognition and purchase. Therefore, the plaintiff requested the court to order the defendant to desist from its infringing act and make a compensation of RMB 50 million yuan for its economic damages.

In reply to the charge, the defendant claims that the registrant of the registered trademark the plaintiff has found in the Trademark Gazettes is not the defendant of the case, but the South Korean LG Electronic Corporation. The defendant is an investment company set up with the sole investment by the South Korean LG Electronic Corporation, its business is related to investment, and it does not directly manufacture and sell products. Moreover, the trademark comprising LG that the plaintiff has accused of infringement has been registered legally with the Trademark Office, and it is a combination of LG, an abbreviation of its company name Lucky Goldstar and a smiling face, while the plaintiff's trademark is a combination of three components: Chinese characters, their spelling of "Languang" in the Chinese Phonetic Alphabet and a sign.

The two are diametrically different in both the design conception and visual effect; so, there is no possibility of misleading recognition and purchase on the part of the customers.

After the IP Court under the Higher People's Court of Beijing Municipality held its open court hearings, the plaintiff requested to withdraw its action, and, on 10 December 1998, the court determined that it was permitted to withdraw its indictment.