Caught in auction

Once again Markmatters.com reports from China, apparently the copy capital of the world. As we all know China has become a very interesting market for Western companies and is a trending topic. And as the sometimes remarkable IP rules and the Chinese explanation of IP is hard to understand for non-Chinese people, Western companies encounter problems in registering and enforcing their marks. Making great news.

Christie’s, the worldwide leader in auctions has also entered the lucrative Chinese market. And their introduction has received some enthusiastic responses as a Chinese rival has adapted a similar name. As Christie’s received evidence that clients were being “misled and deceived” it was time for action and Christie’s now sued the Auction House called Chritrs. This name is pronounced in a similar way to Christie’s Chinese brand name. The written form also shares one of the Chinese characters used in the translation of Christie’s.

The attorneys representing Chritrs admitted that the two company names were pronounced almost in the same way, however, the marketing mainly takes place in print and not verbally. Plus the relevant public, the collectors of fine art, knows exactly who is who.

At least, Christie’s can rely on Sotheby’s who won a similar case against a Chinese company called Sichuan Sufubi, a transliteration of Sotheby’s Chinese name.

Source: The Art Newspaper

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