Shijiazhuang Market Supervision Bureau Fines Trademark Agency 50,000 RMB for Attempting to Trademark Olympic Gold Medalist’s Social Media Account
On May 18, 2022, the Shijiazhuang Yuhua District Market Supervision Administration issued an Administrative Penalty Decision against a Shijiazhuang trademark agency for attempting to trademark the name of Eileen Gu’s Douyin account (TikTok’s sister app in China). Eileen Gu won three gold medals in the Beijing Winter Olympics earlier this year and has become extremely popular in China.
On February 11, 2022, Wang XX, the legal representative of the trademark applicant Hebei Yi Biotechnology Co., Ltd., contacted Wang YY, a staff member of a trademark agency in Shijiazhuang, China, to apply for trademarks for Frog Princess Eileen in English and Chinese. Frog Princess Eileen is the name of the 2022 Winter Olympics champion and model Eileen Gu’s (Gu Ailing) Douyin registered account. This account has released videos since August 29, 2018. Ms. Gu won gold medals in big air and halfpipe and a silver medal in slopestyle at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. She then received a lot of media coverage and became famous, with a great reputation and influence. Therefore, Ms. Gu has the prior rights to the names of her Douyin registered account “Frog Princess Eileen” and due to their high popularity and influence, the scope of protection for “Frog Princess Eileen” is more powerful than the general right of trade names.
At the same time, Ms. Gu made outstanding contributions to my China’s gold medal list in this Winter Olympics. Applicants other than Ms. Gu herself that register and apply for the trademarks “Frog Princess Eileen” not only damages the prior rights of the Winter Olympic champion Gu but also damages the public interests of the society, which is easy to cause social damage and adverse effects. In this case, the trademark agency in Shijiazhuang, as a trademark agency agency for many years, nonetheless applied for a trademark even though it should have known or knew that the trademark would damage the existing prior rights of others.
Accordingly, the trademark agency was fined 50,000 RMB and Wang YY and Li (business personnel) were each fined 5,000 RMB.
The full text of the punishment is available here (Chinese only) courtesy of 知识产权界: 行政处罚决定书.