I’ll Have Four ViaductRock Tyres Please….
According to the much used childhood retort, sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. This, however, doesn’t apply to companies whose vocabulary includes words suspiciously similar to well-known trademarks….
On February 17 Bridgestone Corporation gave notice that its complaint of trademark infringement against two Chinese tyre manufacturers has been upheld. Bridgestone claimed that the companies in question, Shandong Santai Rubber Co., Ltd and Hangzhou Bridgesteel Rubber Co., Ltd, attempted to infringe on the goodwill established by certain Bridgestone intellectual property through the use of their respective brand names, Rockstone and Bridgesteel.
In addition to its trademark infringement complaint against Shandong Santai, Bridgestone has been taking actions to prevent the distribution of the Chinese manufacturer’s products above to various regions throughout the world. These responses included filing a trademark complaint in the Netherlands in October 2008 against a Shandong Santai dealership, Heuver Banden Groothandel BV. As a result of these legal actions, in November 2008 Bridgestone reached an agreement with the dealership, and in December 2008 it also reached an agreement with Shandong Santai, the result of which included the suspension of the manufacturing and marketing of tyres using the “Rockstone” name.
The second infringement complaint centres on conveyor belts manufactured and marketed under the Bridgesteel name. In September 2007, Bridgestone filed a trademark infringement complaint against Hangzhou Bridgesteel at the Hangzhou Intermediate People’s Court, and a decision to uphold the complaint was issued at the end of 2008. The court ruled that the plaintiff must cease to use of the “Bridgesteel” trademark and its Chinese equivalent, dispose of the moulds, and cease to use the Chinese equivalent of “Bridgesteel” as its company name.
Bridgestone says that assuring customer safety and peace of mind is an important factor in its corporate philosophy towards imitation products and services. For this reason, the company says that it will continue to maintain and improve its brand value by proactively identifying parties who attempt to imitate its trademarks and will initiate legal proceedings against them.