Fashion Law: Michael Bastian Victorious in China Trademark Suit
After a five-year legal crusade, CFDA award-winning luxury menswear fashion designer and brand, Michael Bastian, won the right to use its trademark in China. The battle represented the first time a foreign company had ever been able to acquire rights to a name from a third-party squatter.
The name and translation of the brand, Michael Bastian, had been trademarked back in 2007 by a third party; however, after reviewing the case the Chinese Trademark Review and Adjudication Board (TRAB) overturned the third parties decision and sided with the fashion brand. The basis of TRAB’s decision focused on the fact that that board felt the third party had lodged multiple trademark registrations and obviously carried ill intentions.
Andrew Su, lawyer at Grandall Law Firm who assisted the fashion brand in the case said “They’d filed more than 100 similar-sounding or close to other designers names like Louis Vielly. I confirm the time limit for filing appeal against the TRAB decision expired and no appeal [was] filed by the other party.”
Unlike the US and other Commonwealth countries that required the registrant to prove how they used or plan to use a particular trademark, China relied on a first-come-first served method. This system allowed squatters to register multiple trademarks and to receive hefty payout opportunities from brands looking to purchase the trademark. The alternative would be exactly what Michael Bastian did: relying on the legal system that could potentially last years, as it did in this particular case.
Bastian commented “This is a huge decision that provides a sense of confidence for foreign celebrities entering the Chinese market. Specifically, it allows me to freely use my name and IP to build out my brand in China.by