Trademark Battle for The Shopping Festival

Singles’ Day, which takes place every year on 11.11. is the most popular annual shopping festival and the world’s highest-turnover online shopping day. It is hosted by leading Chinese e-commerce platforms, mainly Taobao and JD.com. Both together generate billions of dollars in sales every year, even more than on Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined. Alibaba has reported that on 11 November 2020 alone, around 800 million consumers and more than 250,000 brands generated some 372.3 billion RMB (47.6 billion EUR) in additional sales. This almost doubled the sales record of 2019.

This year, the two giants are not only fighting for customers in the marketplace, but also for the Double 11 (双十一) brand at the Beijing Intellectual Property Court. The background: Alibaba had already registered this trademark in 2012, JD.com had applied to the CNIPA in 2018 to cancel the registration of the trademark. The JD.com company claimed that the Alibaba Group had not used the Double 11 trademark for three consecutive years between 2015 and 2018 after registration. It was therefore cancelable under Article 49 of the Chinese Trademark Law at the request of a third party.

CNIPA took the view that the registration of the trademark relating to advertising and other services should be maintained for Alibaba Group, but should be revoked for many other services under Class 35. Both companies were disappointed with the recent CNIPA decision. On 10 November 2020, a trial between China’s two largest e-commerce companies against the CNIPA’s administrative decision started in the Beijing Intellectual Property Court – the outcome is still open.

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