Changing Times in China’s Hundred Acre Wood

The Walt Disney Company continues to zealously protect its various brands, including Winnie the Pooh.   China Daily reported last month that Disney won a law suit against an apparent trademark squatter.    The mark was reportedly for Winnie the Pooh 威尼熊., registered on garments by Lingxiu Hongri Knitting Garment Factory in Shishi City, Fujian Province.  The Beijing No. 1 Intermediate Court sustained the revocation of the disputed mark by the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board, which viewed this mark as similar to Disney’s “WINNIE THE POOH”.

Disney and Winnie have had a tough time in China over the years. At the same time by protecting its many valuable rights in a variety of media, Disney has also helped advance the law in many areas, including by bringing cases that have helped pioneer many aspects of copyright and entertainment law.

As Disney gets ready to open a theme park in Shanghai, Disney’s family-oriented brands become even more important.  Imagine if some of the early counterfeiting and piracy had gone unchecked?  One example: for the past decade I used an apparently unauthorized picture of Winnie holding a beer mug in an advertisement for a pub in Beijing to show how harmful counterfeiting can be to a family oriented brand such as Disney.  I am glad to see in Winnie being property protected.

 

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