Burberry’s IP victory could set a new precedent in China’s luxury market

    Burberry’s legal victory in China’s Jiangsu High Court marks a major milestone in trademark protection for luxury brands.
    Image: Burberry
      Published   in Fashion

    What happened

    On May 7, the Jiangsu Provincial High People’s Court ruled in favor of Burberry in a significant trademark infringement and unfair competition lawsuit against Xinboli Trading Shanghai, also known as Baneberry.

    The judgment upheld Burberry’s 2021 preliminary injunction against Baneberry, which had misused Burberry’s distinctive check pattern and a logo similar to Burberry’s Equestrian Knight on its products sold through Tmall and WeChat.

    The court ordered Baneberry to pay Burberry damages of 6 million RMB ($831,059), reflecting the scale of the infringement, its malicious nature, and the severity of the violation. The decision emphasized the rigorous defense mounted by Burberry through its representative law firm, Lusheng.

    The Jing Take

    This ruling underlines the welcome strengthening of intellectual property enforcement in China, which is critical for luxury brands whose value significantly depends on the uniqueness and exclusivity of their trademarks. The court’s decision to uphold the preliminary injunction and award significant damages underscores a more mature, rigorous approach to IP rights, aligning with international standards.

    More importantly, this case sets a strategic precedent for international luxury brands operating in China. As Alice Yu, Lusheng’s lead attorney, noted, “This case marks an important moment in Chinese IP litigation. Strategically, it shows how well-positioned China is for temporary injunction protection and combating malicious trademark registrations, and it signposts confidence in China’s judiciary.”

    Chinese company Baneberry was ordered to pay Burberry 6 million RMB for trademark infringement. Image: Weibo
    Chinese company Baneberry was ordered to pay Burberry 6 million RMB for trademark infringement. Image: Weibo

    The extensive efforts by Burberry to defend its trademarks — culminating in the collection of over 5,000 pages of evidence — highlight the necessity for brands to adopt proactive, comprehensive legal strategies when entering high-risk markets. This case, similar to Manolo Blahnik’s decades-long and ultimately successful trademark battle in China, demonstrates the effectiveness of such measures and the Chinese judiciary’s increasing willingness to support well-known brands against bad faith registrations and infringements.

    The Jing Take reports on a piece of the leading news and presents our editorial team’s analysis of the key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debate sprouting on Chinese social media.

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