CHINA – Ariston, the Italian based thermal comfort group, obtained a judgment from the Court of Nanjing (capital of the Jiangsu region) recognizing the company’s status as a “well known trademark”. The verdict was delivered after the company had initiated proceedings against the Chinese company Jiaxing Alisidun Electrical Equipment Co. Ltd. and the distributor Aijun Jiang for the misuse of the Chinese-registered brand A Li Si Dun. The defendants were also forced to pay around £200,000 in damages.

This case is considered a landmark as it is very difficult for international brands to gain such recognition in China, and only few major global brands have been able to obtain a similar qualification to date. The decision may pave the way for other companies to more strictly enforce their registered trademarks in the Chinese market.

Ariston hope that the recognition of their “well known trademark” will enable them to acquire a more prestigious position both in terms of image and customer impression, but, above all, to firmly strengthen their legal protection. This is particularly true for companies holding a “well known trademark” as they can defend themselves against counterfeiters of goods and services registered in dissimilar categories. The company further hope that, by virtue of the court’s recognition, they will be able to take advantage of the easier and significantly less expensive administrative protection as the protection granted to a “well known trademark” is indisputable at administrative level.