Treasury Wine Estates, the parent company of Penfolds, has successfully opposed the registration of two trademarks ‘Barry Ford’ and ‘Ben Ford’ in China that were intended to mimic Penfolds’ trademarked name in China.
The Southcorp Brands Pty Limited, a subsidiary of TWE, argued that the registration filed by Lili Shen sought to capitalise on the similarity between Penfolds’ Chinese name ‘Ben Fu’ and Shen’s ‘Barry Ford’ and ‘Ben Ford’ trademarks by using the existing brand equity built up by Penfolds to sell its own wines.
As a result, Southcorp established the ground of opposition and in doing so Shen was found to have filed the applications for both trade marks in bad faith.
This is the latest win for TWE to preemptively strike down copyrights infringement in China, its most profitable market.
Though ‘Ben Ford’ has been axed this time, another Penfolds lookalike wine, Benfords, was however found to be sold on Pinduoduo, the Chinese e-commerce platform awash with counterfeit and copycat products from shavers to wines.
A case of ‘Benfords Hyland BF358’ series was marketed as RMB 1,580 (US$229) on the platform.
The company behind Benfords is a Chinese company called Shujianxiang Liquor Store. Its wines were also sold on JD.com.
Penfolds is among the most popular wine brands in China, and unfortunately one of the most faked wine brands as well.
Its parent company is actively taking copycats to court and Wine Australia has tightened its grip on issuing export license to protect intellectual property rights in export markets.
Earlier in April, TWE won a case against another copycat brand ‘Rush Rich’ in Shanghai, a year after it filed the lawsuit in Australia and China.