It’s vital to stay on top of your industry, because sometimes things can change and affect your trademark. That recently happened to Burberry so, if it happened to a company of that size, it can certainly happen to you.
What’s the story?
Burberry registered a trademark for its tartan pattern in China some time ago and, because of the lucrative Chinese markets, that trademark is extremely valuable to Burberry’s business.
In February 2012, the trademark office of China’s State Administration for Industry & Commerce received an application challenging the trademark. In November 2013, a decision was made – Chinese authorities cancelled the trademark for Burberry’s beige, black and red pattern on leather goods.
Now holding an invalid trademark, Burberry has said that they’ll be appealing the decision. The luxury retailer are displaying a stubborn stance, declaring that not only are they confident of winning their appeal, but they’ll also continue to take tough action on anyone caught using their trademarks unlawfully.
Burberry has no idea who challenged their trademark. And, while not all their products have the iconic pattern, business experts have said that it’s become crucial to their branding.
But what Burberry should have taken into consideration some time ago, is that this is hardly an isolated problem in this part of the world. In fact, this case is just the latest in a string of trademark problems foreign companies have faced in China.
With that being the case, perhaps they should have been more prepared.
Back in May, Burberry announced that sales in China had rose about 20% in the year ending March 31, account for 14% of their retail and wholesale revenue. So at the very least, maybe steps could have been taken to ensure that this market wasn’t so critical to their bottom line. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but contingency plans are always a good idea.