The court ruled that since COFCO has used the Great Wall logo for many years on its wine products and the trademark has become well known in the wine market, COFCO’s trademark rights are entitled to legal protection. “Jiayu Great Wall” is too close to “Great Wall,” and the defendant must therefore accept legal responsibility for trademark infringement. This was the first-instance decision of the court.
“Great Wall” is a well-known brand under the COFCO banner. Way back in 1974 COFCO registered the words, “Great Wall” and the Great Wall logo as its trademark to become the only legal owner entitled to use the trademark. Decades of effort have built up the “Great Wall” brand into the leading brand of wine in China. Over the years, the Chinese government has recognized the brand as a “famous Chinese brand,” “famous Chinese export brand” and “product exempt from state quality inspection.” In addition, the China Consumer’s Association has granted the brand the right to use the “315” symbol, and the brand’s sales volume has been number one in the industry many years in a row. In November 2000 the China State Administration for Industry and Commerce recognized “Great Wall” as a famous trademark. In the latest statistics released by the China Association of Commerce and China National Commercial Information Center April 3, 2005, Great Wall held an 18.46% share of the Chinese wine market in 2004, the highest of any one brand.