Luxury shoemaker Manolo Blahnik wins 22-year brand battle in China


SHANGHAI, July 19 (Reuters) – Manolo Blahnik, the shoe brand made famous by its famous fans and regular appearances on the TV series ‘Sex and the City’, said on Tuesday it had won a legal battle in China to use its own name, paving the way for the brand to expand across the country.

The company, named after its Spanish founder, said in a statement that the judgment was handed down by China’s Supreme People’s Court last month, marking the culmination of a long legal battle.

Manolo Blahnik has brought numerous lawsuits against Chinese businessman Fang Yuzhou since 2000 to challenge the validity of trademarks filed by Fang regarding the name “Manolo Blahnik”.

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“This is a significant victory for my uncle, our family and our team and I would like to express my gratitude to the Supreme People’s Court of China for their thorough and careful review of our long-running case,” Chief Executive Kristina said. Blahnik, the niece of said founder Manolo Blahnik.

Reuters could not reach Fang for comment.

While the Manolo Blahnik brand has been well known internationally since the 1970s, China has different intellectual property (IP) restrictions compared to countries like the United States, which require companies to prove prior use or intention to use a mark before it could be registered.

China is a “first-to-file” jurisdiction, meaning Fang’s claim to the name as the first person to file it in the Chinese market in 1999 has long proven stronger under the law. Chinese.

Things have changed somewhat in recent years, however, with 2019 amendments to China’s intellectual property laws targeting so-called “bad faith” filings. This has led to high profile wins for international brands in recent years.

In 2020, for example, China’s Qiaodan Sports was barred from using the silhouette of basketball star Michael Jordan as its logo, although it continues to be able to use its trademark romanization of the Chinese version of Jordan’s name. (Qiaodan).

Manolo Blahnik, who has only been available to consumers in China through third-party e-commerce platforms such as Farfetch until now, said he plans to expand into mainland China in the near future, although did not disclose specific plans for the market. expansion.

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Reporting by Casey Hall; Editing by Susan Fenton

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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