Wenzhou Intermediate People’s Court entered into the first-instance judgment on an infringing trademark dispute, awarding an injunction and 33.73 million yuan in damages recently. The court ordered the defendants France-based CASTEL FRERES SAS CO.,LTD (CASTEL FRERES) and its distributors in China to discontinue the use of the trademark of "卡斯特" (Chinese translation of CASTEL). CASTEL FRERES did not appeal to the high court instantly. Plaintiff Shanghai PANATI is holding the victory card for the moment.
In the late 1990s, a man named Li Daozhi worked at Wenzhou Hardware And Electric Material Chemical Corporation. The Corporation applied "卡斯特" for trademark registration in 1998 and obtained the registration in 2000, certified to be used on Class 33, the good of fruit wine. After the Group restructuring in 2002, Li obtained the registration of trademark through assignment.
Li then established PANATI wine and Shanghai CASTEL WINE CO.,LTD. After development of another ten years, PANATI became the biggest agent of Mediterranean and Spanish produces in China which had high reputation in the market. In the early of this year, approval by the Chinese and France authorities, CASTEL acquired three vineyards, rolled out CASTEL high-end wines and started to export.
However, according to the documents, French company CASTEL FRERES was set up in 2005. CASTEL FRERES began to sell a large number of wines in China market, using the trademark of "法国卡斯特"，"卡斯特玛茜","卡斯特所属酒庄"on the bottle label of its wine products.
Li then filed a suit against CASTEL FRERES for infringement, seeking 200 million yuan in damages.
The court held that CASTEL FRERES took advantage of the卡斯特’s reputation to sell its products in China. Then the court entered the first-instance judgment ordering CASTEL FRERES and its local distributors to cease producing and distributing infringement products and pay 33.73 million yuan in damages.
(China IP News)