On 25 May 2021, the Beijing Higher People’s Court issued its judgment on the administrative dispute between the CNIPA and Tencent.
Tencent filed an application at the CNIPA to invalidate the trade mark “Honor of Kings” owned by Guizhou Wenqu Chengyu Liquor Co., Ltd. (“Guizhou Chengyu”) because it was identical to Tencent's registered trade mark. As the CNIPA maintained the trade mark registration in dispute, Tencent appealed to the Beijing Intellectual Property Court.
The Beijing Intellectual Property Court held that in accordance with Article 32 of the 2014 Trade Mark Law, “Honor of Kings” could be protected as a prior right and interest in the name of the work. The disputed trade mark “Honor of Kings” contains the same words as the game “Honor of Kings”. They constitute as similar trade marks and the trade mark application made by Guizhou Chengyu had malicious intent. It was therefore decided that the original decision should be revoked and that the CNIPA should redecide the case. The CNIPA refused to accept the judgment of the Beijing Intellectual Property Court and filed for appeal to the Beijing Higher People’s Court.
In the second instance, the Beijing Higher People’s Court held that Trade Mark Class 33 “fruit wine (alcoholic), liquor, wine” and other goods for which the disputed trade mark was registered were goods used in daily life, and there is a high overlap between the relevant public of such goods and that of "games". The registration of the disputed trade mark on "liquor" and other goods will easily mislead the relevant public into believing that these goods originate from Tencent or have a certain connection with Tencent. It was also held that the registration of the disputed trade mark fell under the circumstances of "infringing upon the existing prior rights of others" under Article 32 of the 2014 Trade Mark Law. Therefore, the Beijing Higher People’s Court rejected the CNIPA’s appeal and upheld the original judgment of the Beijing Intellectual Property Court.