Monday, January 4, 2010


Nivea, a global skin- and body-care brand owned by Beiersdorf Company of Germany, has prevailed in its trademark dispute with Yingzi Cosmetics Co., Ltd. The Beijing People's No. 2 Intermediate Court ruled that although Yingzi's "OUMEINA" trademark is not identical to Beiersdorf's "NIVEA" trademark, the pattern, word arrangement and wrapping were similar enough to cause customer confusion and constitute trademark infringement.
Yingzi argued against customer confusion, asserting that Nivea is not a well-enough known brand in China, that the marks "NIVEA" and "OUMEINA" are not similar, and that the respective customer classes are different (e.g., the respective brands have different price ranges and are carried in different stores). Yingzi also argued that the Nivea wrapping is typical cosmetics wrapping, and therefore did not distinguish Beierdorf's products.
Nevertheless, the court ruled against Yingzi, because the respective brands are used in the same industry and in association with same product type. Moreover, although the marks are different and the wrapping is arguably generic, the decorations (colors and shapes) on Nivea's wrapping are sufficiently unique to cause customer confusion where Yingzi's wrapping decorations were similar. The court ordered Yingzi to pay damages of RMB120,000 to Beiersdorf.

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