Burberry Could Be Losing The Rights To Use Its Famous Check Design In China? Luxury Fashion House Appeals As China Cancels Iconic Tartan Trademark

This week Reports have emerged that Burberry could lose the rights to its iconic plaid print design in China, after a long battle with a rival Chinese company, Polo Santa Roberta that makes similar products. The company from Guangdong initiated cancellation proceedings with the Chinese Trademark Office last February, challenging the copyright to Burberry’s trademark tartan design, in which they alleged that the British brand has failed to use its signature plaid print for three years and sought to have the trademark revoked. According to Chinese law, if the company files an appeal in time it will retain the rights while the appeal is being adjudicated. Just two days after the company received confirmation of the revocation, today, Burberry announced that it is appealing the decision, to cancel the luxury retailer's trademark which relates only to leather goods:

(Full statement below)

 “As a global luxury brand, Burberry considers the protection of its trademarks vital to the health of its business and brand. The Burberry Check is a registered trademark of Burberry Ltd. along with the name ‘Burberry’ and the ‘Burberry Knight’ logo. Burberry protects both its brand and its customers by defending its intellectual property rights.

Burberry is appealing against a recent decision by the China Trade Mark Office in relation to the Burberry Check trademark, which relates only to leather goods. In the interim, there is no change to Burberry’s use or enforcement of its trademark across leather or any other products and we are confident that our appeal will be successful. The Burberry Check remains a registered trade mark exclusively owned by Burberry and no other parties can use the mark without Burberry’s proper authorisation. Burberry always takes the strongest possible action against those who use its trade marks unlawfully.”

The pattern, known as “Haymarket Check,” makes Burberry products distinctive in China and defines the brand. A lawyer for Polo Santa Roberta said that the company was monopolising a part of Scottish culture and heritage by trademarking the tartan and maintaining exclusive use of the pattern. The recent decision, if the appeal is unsuccessful, means that anybody, including rival company Polo Santa Roberta, could make products with that pattern which could seriously damage the retailer's standing in its one of the fastest-growing markets. 

More on this case to come soon…