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Monday, 3 September 2007

Failure to give reasons no laughing matter

The IPKat has learnt from Shanghai Daily of a horribly complicated Chinese IP dispute.

Wahaha Group is a Chinese food company. In 1996, it set up a joint venture with Danone called Wahaha Food Co. As part of the joint venture agreement, the Group was to transfer the Wahaha brand to the Food Co. However this never happened, and the Food Co is accusing the Group of setting up competing companies which have used the Wahaha brand without the Food Co’s permission.

The Group have retaliated by arguing that the Chinese State Trademark Office had refused to order the transfer of the mark from the Group to the Food Co, and therefore what the Group was doing was perfectly legal.

The Food Co has in turn sued the State Trademark Office, arguing that the Office’s decision should be with withdrawn because it did not provide any written explanation for its decision.

The IPKat reckons that failure to give reasons in a pretty serious procedural anomaly. However, this doesn’t necessarily help the Food Co, because presumably the same decision could be rendered again – but this time with reasons.

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