Thursday, December 17, 2009

Giorgio Armani Not Amused By Giormani of Hong Kong

IP Dragon was strolling in Sha Tin (沙田), minding his own business, until he came across a Giormani shop. Was Giorgio Armani saving costs by using less lettering on the billboards?

Italian designer Giorgio Armani, who built the vast Emporio Armani (empire Armani) of clothing and luxury products, will probably not be amused that Kelvin Ng and Jane Tong founded Giormani, a Hong Kong sofa furniture design and manufacturing company in 1999. It's website tells you that they work with young designers from Italy, Germany and Hong Kong. Therefore, we can exclude the possibility of Giorgio Armani designing for them, since he is only young at heart.

If Giorgio Armani registered its trademark in Hong Kong he could probably do something about the sofa business. And even when he did not register his trademark, since Hong Kong has a Common Law system, it means that he can enforce his unregistered trademarks with the legal figure of the tort of passing off.

However the plaintiff should proof the classic trinity:
The goods or services have acquired goodwill or reputation in the marketplace that distinguishes such goods or services from competitors;
The defendant misrepresents his goods or services, either intentionally or unintentionally, so that the public may have the impression that the offered goods or services are those of the claimant;
and The claimant may suffer damages because of the misrepresentation.

The Trademark Ordinance of Hong Kong states in the introduction: "No proceedings lie to prevent, or to recover damages for, the infringement of an unregistered trade mark butnothing in this Ordinance affects the law relating to passing off."

No comments: