Erguang Wonton’s Dispute over Trademark Squatting

Zhong Lun successfully defended the Right Holder of Erguang Wonton.

The brand “Erguang Wonton” was created by Pan siblings in 1997 and became a Shanghai-based hit in a few years. But the Pan siblings did not apply for registering it as a trademark, even when the rights and interests associated with the brand were inherited by Shanghai Erguang Catering Management Co., Ltd. in 2016. To their surprise, Aiush Investment Holding Co., Ltd. preemptively registered “Erguang” series trademarks and licensed a myriad of restaurants in Shanghai and other cities to operate under the name of “Erguang Wonton”. The market has since seen two restaurant chains going with the same business name of “Erguang Wonton”, causing consumers to confuse one chain for another. Shanghai Erguang had no choice but to file an unfair competition lawsuit, claiming that defendants’ use of the registered trademark “Erguang” and misleading publicity stunts constituted unfair competition. The case was heard before the Xuhui District People’s Court of Shanghai, which ruled in favor of the plaintiff. The Shanghai Intellectual Property Court affirmed the ruling of the trial court.

This is a case involving conflict of intellectual property rights. On one hand, the plaintiff enjoys the rights and interests related to the famous brand “Erguang Wonton”, but on the other, the defendants have the exclusive right to the registered trademark “Erguang”. The trial court did not require the parties to resolve the conflict through the trademark administrative procedure first, but rather went on with the civil proceedings.

The Zhong Lun team was led partner Yuanchao Ma (Picture) and associate Xiaowei Shen.

Involved fees earner: Yuanchao Ma – Zhong Lun Law Firm; Xiaowei Shen – Zhong Lun Law Firm;

Law Firms: Zhong Lun Law Firm;

Clients: Erguang Wonton ;