Big fashion brands have been involved in some unfavorable intellectual property matters recently. Gucci lost the majority of its UK trademark rights to its interlocking G's print. Dior lost its suit to prevent an Indonesian company from using "Baby Dior." And before that, Phillip Lim was forced to adopt a China-specific trademark as his was already being used by another party. Now, Burberry has suffered a loss in China. Last year, Road Bi Damaqiu Leather Product Limited Company, a leather products company based in Guangdong, filed a request with the Trademark Office in which it alleged that the British brand had not used its signature plaid print for three years, and sought to have the trademark revoked. The company received confirmation of the revocation this past week, and has since filed suit against Burberry, seeking roughly $82 million, the total losses that the company suffered from Burberry's trademark related lawsuits. As for these lawsuits ... Burberry has filed multiple trademark suits against Road Bi Damaqiu Leather Product, namely ones in 2004, 2005, and 2008.
Moral of this story: Brands, you need to be vigilant in maintaining your trademarks in other countries. With the truly international nature of fashion and the associated intellectual property, registration of trademarks, in particular, in the U.S and our top competitor nations is not enough. As indicated by the Baby Dior lawsuit, registration and maintenance in third world countries is even worth considering. International trademark registration has been made easier for U.S. trademark holders thanks to the Madrid Protocol, which allows a trademark owner to seek registration in any of the countries that have joined the Madrid Protocol (a total of 91 countries as of 2013) by filing a single application, called an "international application."