‘Castel’ trademark fine suspended by China’s Supreme Court

A fine of CNY34m (US$5.6m) which was levied on Castel, the French wine group over a trademark dispute with the local Chinese wine distributor, Panati Wine (Shanghai) Co., Ltd, was suspended by the Supreme Court of China.  Castel announced this week that they had successfully blocked the fine after an appeal was filed in the Supreme Court towards the end of 2013.

The whole dispute started back in 2005, when an opposition was started by Castel against Panati’s trademark “Kasite” on the basis that the trademark has not been used for three years.

Though the ruling is only temporary, it is considered to be an important victory on the side of Castel in its long-running battle with the Shanghai-based distributor Panati Wine over the ‘Ka-Si-Te’ trademark name in China.  This latest decision of the Supreme Court overrules an earlier decision of the Zhejiang Provincial Superior People’s Court, which had ordered Castel to pay CNY34m (US$5.6m) in damages to Panati Wine for infringement of the Ka-Si-Te trademark last year.

Castel said that a retrial on the case will be heard.  They also believe that the probability of getting a favourable decision has increased following the latest decision supreme court.  The supreme court had earlier ruled that the lower court wrongly applied commercial law and had temporarily suspended the fine levied on Castel.  The group said in press release last year that, “Castel Freres is prepared to take any measures required to protect its legitimate interests in China.”

Castel had announced the successfully registered the name ‘Kasidaile’ as a trademark in China in March 2013, to substitute the precedent “Kasite”.

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