Baidu Company, which once attracted widespread attention, sued the trademark infringement case of "Baidu Barbecue". Recently, the Supreme People's Court ruled and rejected the application for retrial of Sun Luming, the defendant in first instance and the legal representative of Shenzhen Yibaidu Catering Management Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as "Shenzhen Yibaidu Company").
Previously, Guangdong People’s Courts at two levels ruled that Shenzhen Yibaidu Company and its "Baidu Barbecue" franchise store infringed Baidu's trademark rights and constituted unfair competition.
Borrowing the brands of well-known companies, registering or using similar trademarks to solicit their own business, free-riding in the trademark field, and the phenomenon of famous brands often occur. In recent years, Baidu has also initiated multiple rights protection cases involving industries such as automobiles, hotels, real estate, and catering.
"Baidu Barbecue" was convicted of infringement and judged to compensate 3.5 million
Baidu Online Network Technology (Beijing) Co., Ltd. was established in January 2000 and is currently the world's largest Chinese search engine service provider.
Shenzhen Yibaidu Catering Management Co., Ltd., founded in Shenyang in 2005, is a Chinese restaurant chain enterprise.
One is search and the other is catering. These two unconnected companies began to "fight" in 2013.
According to the verdict, in 2013, Baidu brought Shenzhen Yibaidu Company and its legal representative Sun Luming, Shenzhen famous Baidu barbecue restaurant and its investor Song Yuxia to Court, demanding that the four defendants immediately stop trademark rights infringement, and issued a statement in the media to eliminate the impact, and jointly compensate Baidu for economic losses 1104.24 million yuan, 40,000 yuan for stopping infringement, etc.
On September 26, 2013, Shenzhen Intermediate Court opened a trial of the case.
Baidu believes that Shenzhen Yibaidu and its franchised stores have used words containing "Baidu" and also used the word "Baidu Barbecue" to decorate signboards, menus and business premises. The behavior of the “Baidu” word mark made it easy for the relevant public to associate these with Baidu, which caused misleading and infringed the exclusive right of its registered trademark.
Shenzhen Yibaidu Company considered that the Company obtained the exclusive right to use the "Yibaidu" trademark in 2010, and its use of the registered trademark to make plaques and publicity is also an act of using the registered trademark in accordance with the law and does not constitute the violation of exclusive right to use Baidu's trademark.
In December 2018, the Shenzhen Intermediate People's Court ruled that Shenzhen Yibaidu Company and other four defendants infringed Baidu's trademark rights and constituted unfair competition, and should compensate Baidu Company for economic losses and reasonable expenses totaling 3.5 million yuan.
The litigation lasted for seven years, and the Supreme People’s Court rejected the unsuccessful party’s application for retrial
Shenzhen Yibaidu Company and Sun Luming appealed against the judgment of the first instance. In November 2019, the Guangdong Higher People's Court basically upheld the original judgment in the second instance.
The ruling issued by the Supreme People’s Court recently revealed that Sun Luming refused to accept the Guangdong High People’s Court second-instance judgment and applied to the Supreme Court for a retrial. Sun Luming believes that Baidu BBQ was founded on December 8, 2005, earlier than the time Baidu become famous (2008). It has design patent related to Baidu, which belongs to the improper use of similar trademarks. The degree of infringement should be considered, and the amount of compensation should not be judged in accordance with the maximum amount. In addition, Baidu Company has a secondary responsibility for infringement, because Baidu Company once provided bidding ranking service for "Baidu Barbecue", Baidu Company itself was at fault and misled Sun Luming.
On November 25, 2020, the Supreme People's Court ruled to reject Sun Luming's application for retrial.
The Supreme People’s Court held that when Sun Luming invested in the establishment of related companies and applied for registration of related trademarks, Baidu’s litigation trademarks were already well-known to the relevant public in China. Shenzhen Yibaidu and Sun Luming also admitted that they initially used "Baidu" as the brand name. It is to "be as famous as the Baidu website", and in its business activities, Yibaidu uses "Baidu", "Baidu Barbecue", "Baidu Yikou Niu" and "Baidu Secret" in its signs, menus and business premises decoration, website promotion pages or transaction documents. The logos such as "Meat Making", "Baidu Franchise, Baidu Essence", etc. are all intended to make the relevant public mistakenly believe that the accused logo has a considerable degree of connection with the well-known trademark of "Baidu" and improperly use the market of the well-known trademark of "Baidu" reputation. The Court of first instance determined that the civil liability determined by comprehensive consideration of the popularity of the "Baidu" trademark involved, subjective infringement, maliciousness, nature of the conduct, duration, and the scale of infringement was not inappropriate.