THE WHAT? In a recent trademark infringement case, the Zhejiang High Court ruled against Fuzhou Yiqian Beauty and Hairdressing Co., Ltd. (“Yiqian”), Nanchang Magic Styling Co., Ltd. (“Magic”), and others in favour of Henkel Co., Ltd. (“Henkel”). The courts found that Yiqian and Magic had infringed upon Henkel’s registered trademark rights and ordered them to pay a combined compensation of RMB15 million (USD2.06 million) to Henkel. The infringement involved the unauthorised use of Henkel’s “Schwarzkopf” trademark in various Chinese online and physical platforms.
THE DETAILS Magic was found to have used the “Schwarzkopf” name in promoting its hair salon chain franchise business on its website and social media platforms, including WeChat and Weibo. Similarly, Yiqian was found guilty of using the infringing logo in their “Schwarzkopf in Chinese Hairdressing Chain” stores operated on the Dianping and Meituan platforms. The court concluded that both companies had used the trademark in ways that could confuse the public and associate their services with Henkel’s registered trademarks despite the lack of any official connection.
THE WHY? Henkel did not provide concrete evidence of their actual losses due to the infringement, nor could the defendants’ profits from the infringement be accurately calculated. However, considering the widespread use of the infringing logos, the high popularity of Henkel’s trademarks, and the deliberate and malicious nature of the infringement by Magic and Yiqian, the court determined the compensation amount. This decision considered the number of franchise stores, the fees charged, the duration of the infringement, and the legal costs incurred by Henkel in pursuing the case. The court’s decision aimed to address the gravity of the infringement and penalise the unauthorised use of Henkel’s well-established trademarks.