Tuesday, September 15, 2009

"Class" Justice in Trademark Rights: Lan Kwai Fong

Lan Kwai Fong, an L-shaped expat-trap of bars and restaurants in Central, Hong Kong Island, founded by Allan Zeman (see its history here), is that well known in China and Macau many registered the name in all kinds of classes.

Neil Gough and Denise Tsang of the South China Morning Post wrote (September 14th) that Allan Zeman, Hong Kong entrepreneur is starting another aggregation of bars and restaurants in Chengdu, Sichuan province. Zeman will called it Lan Kwai Fong. In 2002 several of Zeman's British Virgin Island companies began registering Chinese trademarks for combination of the English and Chinese versions of the name Lan Kwai Fong, for restaurants, housing estate management, and beer.

However, Lan Kwai Fong has been registered in other classes by other people as well:
Luo Ming, Guangzhou (Guangdong province), registered a trademark for shoes, swimwear and other clothing in 2003
Zhuang Shaohai, Shantou (Guangdong province), registered a trademark for handbags and underware in 2006.
Chongqing (Chongqing municipality) registered a trademark for medicinal beverages, disinfactants and women's sanitary napkings.

Then there is the Lan Kwai Fong casino hotel in Macau (Macau SAR), opened last month and Lan Kwai Fong restaurant in Shamian Island on Guangzhou (Guangdong province).

Lan Kwai Fong is a case in point how imporatant your brand name is and that you have to register your tradenames in all classes of products and services that you want to be active in.

Check the Trademark Office of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce's trademark database here, click then on login and write down the name. You have to fill in a class number between 1 and 45 (International Trademark Classification under the Nice Agreement). For example class 43 is "Services for providing food and drink; temporary accomodation."

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