Brandsmiths is pleased to report that its client, Entertainment One UK Limited, has won a trade mark dispute over use of the Peppa Pig Mark in China, in which the Court declared that Peppa Pig is now recognised as a well-known trade mark in China. This is a welcome decision particularly given that Entertainment One has only recently entered into the Chinese market.
Entertainment One is the owner of the Peppa Pig trade mark (in this case, of the Chinese Peppa Pig mark). The Peppa Pig brand is world famous, with its children’s cartoon show that is broadcast globally.
The Chinese Peppa Pig mark became valid in September 2014. Since then, Entertainment One has sought to expand the Peppa Pig
brand in China, through authorising production rights for derivative products as well as entering into agreements with TV channels to broadcast the Peppa Pig s
how and entertainment media companies to authorise use of the Peppa Pig characters on media platforms (video games, for example).
It came to Entertainment One’s attention that an online store operating on the Pinduoduo platform was selling Peppa Pig branded desk lamps. As such, Entertainment One issued proceedings for trade mark infringement against the owner of the shop as well as the owner of the platform where the lamps were being sold in September 2019.
The question before the court was whether the Peppa Pig trade mark had gained sufficient reputation among Chinese consumers to meet the requirements for the recognition of well-known trademarks, and that the lamps being sold would cause substantial confusion and misunderstanding among consumers, and therefore infringe the well-known trade mark rights of the Peppa Pig mark.
The court found that the Peppa Pig mark did indeed enjoy a significant reputation among Chinese consumers. The court found that the evidence showed that the Peppa Pig show had been broadcast extensively throughout China and had a large viewership. It also found that products derived from the Peppa Pig brand (such as books and DVDs) enjoyed enormous popularity in the Chinese market. For example, Series One of the Peppa Pig show was number one bestseller in children’s books in the first half of 2017.
The court held that the mark was a well-known mark and should be recognised as a well-known registered trade mark. It therefore found that the mark had been infringed by the online shop selling desk lamps, although the online platform where the goods were sold were not said to have infringed the mark.
This judgment bears well for the future of the expansion of the Peppa Pig brand in the Chinese market because it is a clear and unequivocal judgment showing that (1) the Peppa Pig mark enjoys a substantial reputation in China and is therefore afforded a high degree of brand protection and (2) the brand is likely to be well-protected by the Chinese courts in the future as this judgment will act as a precedent should there be future infringements of any of Peppa Pig’s marks.
Niall Trainor, Senior director of Entertainment One said: “We’re obviously very pleased we obtained this major recognition on the IP front, particularly as we only launched the brand in China a few years ago. It is particularly notable given that comparatively few foreign-owned content brands manage to attain well-known recognition in China.”
China is a key market for Entertainment One due to the strong potential commercial benefits that exist there. This judgment is exciting news for the company’s continued expansion into the Chinese market.