Intellectual Property

From Hollywood to Haute Couture
by Michael Rank

Michael Rank is a China specialist for Trade Marks Directory Service (TMDS), a London-based company that works for brands by examining newly published trademark applications from across the globe. Below are some dodgy trademark applications they discovered in China.

China is becoming as obsessed with celebrities and brand names as the West, with Hollywood blockbusters packing the cinemas and a plethora of magazines and websites devoted to promoting A-list film and pop stars, intermingled with adverts for famous fashion labels and cosmetics.

Inevitably perhaps, Chinese companies are cashing in on the trend and the names of famous film stars are beginning to crop up in trademark application.


Would you like to be in Clooney's shoes?

A Shanghai businessman cheekily applied to use the names George Clooney and Lenny Kravitz for his line of clothes, underwear, shoes and swimwear, while an entrepreneur from Beijing wants to use Warren Beatty to promote his clothing collection - let's hope it doesn't look like Dick Tracey's wardrobe.


The sweet smell of ....iodine?!

Fashion and cosmetic brands are equally tempting, and a company in the booming southern city of Guangzhou has no qualms about ripping off the names Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent and Lancome for a slightly unlikely selection of goods including veterinary drugs, tincture of iodine and air fresheners - not exactly what you would call luxury merchandise!

Outrageous examples such as this crop up in the Chinese trademark journals regularly, which is why monitoring new trademark applications is crucial to the protection of a healthy brand.

You can find out more about Trade Marks Directory Service here, or by emailing

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There are currently 4 Comments for From Hollywood to Haute Couture
by Michael Rank.

Comments on From Hollywood to Haute Couture
by Michael Rank

I'm french and I found it's incredible the number of brand name that pretend to be french or to be popular in France. Especially in cosmetics...

What you described is very common in China. Whet i concern the most many brands are trying to trick the customers by using a brand extremely close to the great marks. One exemple, there are more than three or four brands using "valentino" : Louis Valentino, Jordan Valentino etc. Some use a name pretty french style and claimed that they are a franch brand, but well, of course, not true.

In Mianyang is a smart menswear shop named;
Wayne Rooney..Italy
Previously all the clothing had his moniker on the outside of each item. They have a badge which includes a football. The 'Italy' was bizarrely added during the World Cup !!
I wrote about this to a BBC programme and my letter was read out. They were incredulous...."who would ever wear clothes with his name on it?" asked one presenter."No-one in UK" replied another. In UK he is known as a football star but also as a yob with little education and aggressive ways....not exactly David Beckham in looks either.
Strangely even though I pass this shop twice a day I have NEVER seen anyone actually shopping or brousing inside....never !

Unless these companies or individuals have registered these words as trademarks in China, the use of those names is probably legal. Unlike the US and Britain, China is a first to file country. This means whoever registers the trademark gets it. If you do not want someone using your name, LEGALLY, in China, you need to register it before they do.

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