Sex & the City shoe designer Manolo Blahnik victory in 22-year legal fight over China trademark.

The decision comes after the recent victory of Sex & the City shoe designer Manolo Blahnik who won a 22-year legal fight over China trademark.

 

Manolo Blahnik, Spanish fashion designer and founder of the eponymous high-end shoe brand, won the right to use his name in China for the first time, paving the way for the brand’s expansion.

Monolo Blahnik started his business in London in 1971 and became a household name through HBO’s Sex and the City.

The Supreme People’s Court of China, China’s highest court, cancelled a trademark incorporating the Manolo Blahnik name that has been owned by Chinese businessman Fang Yuzhou.

Manolo Blahnik is now able to sell his brand in the world’s fastest-growing luxury market.

“This is a meaningful victory for my uncle, our family and our team and I want to express gratitude to the Supreme People’s Court of China for its thorough and careful consideration of our long-standing case,” Chief Executive Kristina Blahnik, the niece of founder Manolo Blahnik, said.

China has a “first to file” trademark system which has meant that several foreign companies have found that their names have already been registered in China by companies looking to sell trademarks when those businesses enter China. Intellectual property theft has long been an issue between China and its trade partners. China’s “first to file” jurisdiction meant Fang’s claim to the Manolo Blahnik name as the first person to trademark it in the China market in 1999 was long found to be stronger under Chinese law.

Amendments designed to strengthen trademark legislation were implemented in China in November 2019 taking aim at so-called “bad faith” filings. This has led to some high profile wins for international brands in recent years.

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