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Hennessy wins lawsuit over trademark
By Cao Li (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-11-30 06:00

SHANGHAI: World-renowned cognac producer Hennessy won a trademark lawsuit yesterday against two counterfeiters in the Shanghai No 2 Intermediate People's Court.

The court ordered a trading company in Zhuhai, Guangdong Province, and its bottling agency in Xiamen, Fujian Province, to cease the infringement immediately, pay compensation of more than 300,000 yuan (US$37,000) and publicize a notice of apology in a local newspaper, the Xinmin Evening News.

Societe Jas Hennessy registered its trademark in China in 1980. But last July, it found a series of wine products that claimed to be French cognac brandy were sold at a Carrefour store. A trademark, Hanlissy, was used on its package, wine bottles and label, which looked similar to that of Hennessy.

The court agreed that the Xiamen Golden Huanya Food Company put the fake wine into the bottle and that the Zhuhai Xiangmutong Trading Company distributed the wine.

Xiangmutong, founded in 2002, applied for the Hanlissy trademark in June 2003 and got first approval from the State Trademark Office in June 2004. But Hennessy applied to the office later last year to revoke the registration.

While the office was reviewing the application, Hennessy took the two companies to court, seeking compensation of 500,000 yuan (US$61,600).

Xiangmutong, however, argued the two trademarks are not alike in any way. While the hand in Hennessy's trademark holds an axe, Hanlissy's warrior holds a sword and shield, according to the company attorney, Zhang Jing.

The court ruled that the English letters of Hanlissy and Hennessy are similar in look and in their pronunciation. For a famous brand such as Hennessy, the similarities might easily cause confusion among consumers.

(China Daily 11/30/2005 page2)

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