Pages

Showing posts with label Copyright/Trademark. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Copyright/Trademark. Show all posts

Thursday, May 3, 2018

McWonton's Golden Arches in Zhaoqing

There is something about that M . . .

A small eatery (M8上品塱鹤云吞) with an "M8" logo similar to the McDonald's Golden Arches


I saw the small eatery in the above photo today in Zhaoqing. Other than the M8 logo I didn't see anything else, including the Chinese below the logo on the sign, which seemed to have a bit of McDonald's spirit. Instead of hamburgers, this place features wontons (to be clear, "McWonton's" is my own creation). I refrained from asking about the logo.

The eatery especially caught my attention since it had been a while since I last came across an example of a logo seemingly inspired by McDonald's, whether at a hotpot restaurant in Changde or a Wichael Alone restaurant at highway rest area probably not very far from here. It was also notable in another respect. On the other side of the street and visible from the eatery are the famous Golden Arches themselves.

A McDonald's in Zhaoqing


So if you're ever craving a side of wontons to go along with a Big Mac, this part of Zhaoqing might be a great place to go.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Thursday, August 18, 2016

A Step Away from Adidas: Adisco Shoes in China

Business is getting better in China for sports brands such as Nike and Adidas. But as Bruce Einhorn reported in Bloomberg, not all sports brands are happy:
The sports boom has yet to pay off for some of China's home-grown brands. Competition from Adidas, Nike and other foreign brands is hurting many of them, with order growth falling from high double-digits last year to low-to-mid double digits in early 2016, according to a Fitch Ratings report published on June 3. Fitch expects “smaller domestic manufacturers' margins to come under pressure in the next five years due to increasing competition, their limited pricing flexibility to distributors and rising labor costs.”
In response, some Chinese sports brands are "looking for foreign assistance". I saw one potentially relevant example in Taiyuan, Shanxi province, although I don't think it is what Einhorn had in mind.

Before highlighting the notable shoe store, I will first share a photo of a different shoe store in Taiyuan. Its sign features Adidas, Nike, and New Balance:



One could ask whether the store in Taiyuan sells genuine Adidas, Nike, and New Balance shoes. I did not ask this question. Instead, I took the photo simply because I wanted a recent example of the Adidas three bar logo. So simple. So recognizable.

Now, here is a shoe store I saw in another shopping district in Taiyuan which has arguably received some foreign assistance:

Adisco store in Taiyuan, Shanxi, Cina


As I assume most readers immediately noticed, Adisco's logo, indicated as registered, is rather similar to the Adidas three bar logo. One difference is that two of the bars are subtly divided into smaller sections.

Adisco's shoes display a similar approach. Many feature a three stripe design Adidas fans would quickly recognize. Two of the stripes are subtly divided into smaller sections, though.

Adisco shoes for sale in Taiyuan


A shiny golden certificate in the store declares that Adisco is a "China Shoes Apparel Industry Well Known Brand".

Gold plaque proclaiming Adisco is a "China Shoes Apparel Industry Well Known Brand"


The certificate lists an official website for inquiries: www.chinacqbc.org. I have yet to find anything functional at that address, so I have not able to inquire about their standards. But the certificate's shininess is undeniable.

Also undeniable is that the store was using a Nike shoebox.

Monitor sitting on top of a Nike shoe box at an Adisco store in Taiyuan

It seemed like an odd choice. Perhaps they were going for a "we're crushing Nike" message.

Although there may be little doubt about Adisco's source of inspiration, I don't know if Adidas has challenged them or how Chinese courts would rule. There are many relevant factors to consider, and the results of trademark disputes can be surprising. One of Adidas's competitors which appears on the first store's sign has run into much bigger trademark problems. More about that later.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Mickey Mouse Spirit at a Wholesale Clothing Market in Beijing

Over half a year ago "a Chinese government agency singled out the Walt Disney Company as the focus of a new nationwide 'special action' aimed at stamping out imitation goods that infringe on Disney’s trademarks."

About a month ago at the large Shiji Tianle wholesale clothing market in Beijing, I noticed a lot of clothing with Western brands, including Disney. I don't know the story for all of the clothing sold at Tianle. But there were plenty of examples which made it easy to question how much of it was genuine, including a Donald Duck shirt with a creative spelling.

Shirt with face of Donal Duck and "LOVE DONPLD!"
Does "LOVE DONPLD!" have Disney's approval?

Below are some examples of Mickey Mouse shirts I saw for sale at the market. The last photo includes a shirt that would have been a more clearcut example to use in an earlier post about Disney and American influence. Based on what I have seen elsewhere, they are representative of the popularity of Disney-themed clothing in China. And like a "Mockey" mouse shirt I saw in Xiamen, they may represent the challenges Disney still faces with regard to imitation products in China.

Mickey Mouse shirt for sale at Shiji Tianle in Beijing

American flag lips shirt and Mickey Mouse shirt for sale at Shiji Tianle in Beijing

Mickey Mouse shirt for sale at Shiji Tianle in Beijing

Mickey Mouse shirts for sale at Shiji Tianle in Beijing

Mickey Mouse shirt for sale at Shiji Tianle in Beijing

"Mickey and Friends" shirt for sale at Shiji Tianle in Beijing

Mickey Mouse shirt for sale at Shiji Tianle in Beijing

Mickey Mouse "FRANCE" shirt for sale at Shiji Tianle in Beijing

Mickey-Mouse-like shirt for sale at Shiji Tianle in Beijing

Mickey Mouse with American flag shirt for sale at Shiji Tianle in Beijing

Friday, July 8, 2016

Mickey Mouse or HIPANDA?: A Possible Example of Multiple Trademark Infringement in China

In a post about how Disney's new resort in Shanghai and what it says about both American and Chinese influence, I shared a photo of a shirt I saw two years ago in Hengyang, Hunan:

shirt with a mouse/panda-like head shape filled with an American-flag themed design


I chose the photo because the Mickey-Mouse-like shape on the shirt appears to incorporate the design of the national flag of the U.S. However the shape isn't a perfect match to the standard Disney's Mouse Ears Mark; for example, the ears aren't the same shape and proportion.

Disney's Mouse Ears Mark
Image source
Perhaps the designer failed to execute the design or deliberately made the difference in the hope to avoid violating trademark laws.

There was another possibility, though, which seemed at least as likely and caused me to hesitate before using the photo in a post about Disney. The shape on the shirt is also similar to a head shape used by HIPANDA — a Chinese fashion brand which has received international attention.

HIPANDA's online store at Tmall currently sells a shirt with a similar American spirit and sparkly design:

HIPANDA shirt with American flag design



Other HIPANDA shirts with a Stars and Stripes design are available as well, including this one:

HIPANDA shirt with flag of the U.S. design


The silhouette of the head on the Hengyang shirt doesn't perfectly match the standard HIPANDA head either, though I would argue it is a closer match than with Disney's Mouse Ears Mark. Presumably it isn't an official HIPANDA shirt.

So was the designer of the Hengyang shirt trying to imitate Mickey Mouse or HIPANDA? Or was the designer aiming for something which could be interpreted as either? I am not aware of any trademark disputes between Disney and HIPANDA, yet both might take issue with the shirt's design which fits into a space between Disney's Mouse Ears Mark and the HIPANDA head silhouette.

Whatever the designer's intent, the Hengyang shirt's design could be interpreted as "Disney". And other aspects of its design suggest American influence. It was the most compelling example I could find in my photos without great effort. So I went ahead and used it in the Disney post, although I wondered if I would receive any critical response (I did not).

Since then, I have seen shirts with more clearcut examples combining Disney and American influence themes. And shirts with designs reminiscent of the American flag, like the HIPANDA examples, have been a common sight in China. I have also recently seen many people wearing shirts with Mickey Mouse designs — a number of Donald Duck sightings as well. I am willing to bet at least some of the shirts don't have Disney's official blessing. More about all of these shirts later.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

More Questions Related to Disney's New Park in Shanghai

Advertisement for the Shanghai Disney Resort near an entrance to Guomao Station in Beijing
Advertisement for the Shanghai Disney Resort near an entrance to Guomao Station in Beijing

A few weeks ago I posted about how Disney's new resort in Shanghai isn't only a sign of American influence but of Chinese influence as well.

Since then I have been thinking about questions such as:
  • How much of the resort's "distinctly Chinese" aspects are a result of appeasing government officials' worries about American cultural imperialism versus tailoring the park to best meet visitors' needs and desires versus creating a unique park?
  • To what degree were Chinese officials more or less concerned about American cultural imperialism compared to having a park distinct from Disney's parks elsewhere in the world?
  • Do the localizations conflict with visitors' desires to have a Western / American experience?
  • Exactly how much of an effort has China made to reduce piracy specifically affecting Disney and how effective has it been?
  • Will Disney open a Beijing roast duck restaurant with Character Dining including Donald Duck?
In future posts, possibly scattered among others, I will touch on some of these questions and related issues. I will also say more about the shirt in the earlier post's photo. I nearly didn't use it and was careful with how I described it (or didn't describe it). Notice why?

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Apple Opens a Special New Store in Xiamen, China

Today Apple opened its first store in Xiamen, China, at the SM Lifestyle Center shopping mall. Unlike the notable Apple Store which opened almost a year ago at Jiefangbei in Chongqing, no Apple logo could be seen from afar.

Apple Store at the SM Lifestyle Center shopping mall in Xiamen, China


As explained by several Apple Store employees, that is all by design and part of the look for Apple's newest "D phase" of stores which also appears at new locations in Nanning far to the west and Shenyang far to the north.

Apple hasn't totally eliminated the outside logo, though. One is well hidden on a wall at the Xiamen store.

Hidden Apple logo at the SM Lifestyle Center shopping mall in Xiamen, China


My eyes strain to see the faintest sign of the logo in the above photo, and I had the same experience in person. If a store employee hadn't mentioned a hidden logo, I wouldn't have noticed it. Even after the hint, finding it took significant effort. Close up, the logo is somewhat easier to see but still doesn't jump out.

closeup view of the hidden Apple logo


Employees explained Apple wants people to focus more on the products than the logo and believes its stores' distinctive design will be enough for people to identify them.

It may also be hoped it communicates a message similar to "we're so cool we don't even need to show our logo". Another possible impact relates to the "fake" Apple Stores still common in China. Will they be willing to imitate a look which includes no sign?

A "fake" Apple Store with an "Apple Store" storefront sign
Another "Apple Store" I saw by chance today in Xiamen

Although it is not illegal in China for these stores to resell genuine Apple merchandise and most are easily distinguished from a genuine Apple Store, the bigger question is whether these stores are selling genuine, fake, or the semi-genuine Apple products I have seen being made at Huaqiangbei and elsewhere in China. Apple has far more control over what is sold in its own stores, where it can sell its genuine products in an environment which best complements its brand image, no small part of Apple's success.

The lack of a visible Apple logo didn't appear to hurt today. Over 30 minutes after opening there was still a long, slow line of people. The store is much easier to find than the logo.

crowd at the opening at the SM Lifestyle Center Apple Store in Xiamen, China


A big draw for some people were the limited free shirts commemorating the opening.

free shirt given away at the opening of the at the SM Lifestyle Center Apple Store in Xiamen, China


One group of Apple fans decided it was worth taking a break from their jobs in order to be among the first to visit the store and hopefully score some shirts.

group posing for a photo in front of the SM Lifestyle Center Apple Store in Xiamen, China


At the entrance, people were greeted with cheers and high-fives from Apple Store employees.

Apple employees greeting customers at the opening of the SM Lifestyle Center Apple Store in Xiamen, China


Unlike the Jiefangbei store, no special art marked its opening. But the Xiamen store can make its own claims to fame, at least for now. According to an employee, it boasts the longest LED light panels of any Apple Store in China.

long lights at the SM Lifestyle Center Apple Store in Xiamen, China

long overhead lights at the SM Lifestyle Center Apple Store in Xiamen, China


And it also has the largest Ultra HD Screen.

large Ultra HD Screen at the SM Lifestyle Center Apple Store in Xiamen, China


The live greenery inside is another aspect Apple's new look for its stores.

live plants in a wall at the SM Lifestyle Center Apple Store in Xiamen, China


During the opening hours the store was packed with customers and Apple Store employees.

crowd at the opening of the SM Lifestyle Center Apple Store in Xiamen, China


As seems to be common for Apple's new stores in China, a number of the employees were from the the U.S. and established stores elsewhere in China. During my visit I met employees who had transferred from California, Hawaii, Texas, and Shanghai. At least some of them expect to be at the Xiamen store for two years. This not only helps Apple ensure its China stores offer an experience similar to its U.S. stores but could also have benefits when Apple's employees bring what they learn in China back to the U.S. or to elsewhere in the world.

After the opening hour or two, the crowd thinned to a point where the outside line had disappeared and the inside was still busy but moving around was more manageable. As Best Buy has learned, crowds can be especially deceiving in China. In the end, something else matters much more.

RMB cash counting machine


So Apple is surely keeping a closer eye on sales, whether by cash or card.

Apple employee using cash counting machine for a man's purchase

person making a purchase with a credit card at the SM Lifestyle Center Apple Store in Xiamen, China


Below are more scenes from the store today including employees demonstrating, assisting, discussing, and photographing; customers watching, trying, buying, and waiting for others; and security keeping an eye on things. The store is Apple's 30th in China, and more are on the way. The opening is symbolic not only for Apple but Xiamen as well. Like many other cities in China, Xiamen has seen much recent development. An under-construction subway system will soon have a station next to the large shopping mall, something surely not lost on Apple as it seeks to grow as well.

Apple employee helping a man put on an Apple Watch

Apple employee helping a customer put on an Apple Watch

Apple employees assisting customers

Apple employees assisting a customer

Apple employee assisting a customer

Apple employee assisting a customer

Apple employees with a customer

Apple employee assisting a customer with a laptop

Apple employee assisting a customer

Apple employee assisting a customer with headphones at the SM Lifestyle Center Apple Store in Xiamen, China

customer looking at headphones

customer using a laptop for sale at the SM Lifestyle Center Apple Store in Xiamen, China

customers in front of monitor displaying Jupiter at the SM Lifestyle Center Apple Store in Xiamen, China

people trying iPads at the SM Lifestyle Center Apple Store in Xiamen, China

Apple employee giving a demonstration at the SM Lifestyle Center Apple Store in Xiamen, China

Apple employee giving a demonstration

Apple employee giving a demonstration

woman waiting with a suitcase at the SM Lifestyle Center Apple Store in Xiamen, China

people using mobile phones at the SM Lifestyle Center Apple Store in Xiamen, China

security at the SM Lifestyle Center Apple Store in Xiamen, China

three employees speaking to each other at the SM Lifestyle Center Apple Store in Xiamen, China

Apple employee taking a photograph with a Canon camera at the SM Lifestyle Center Apple Store in Xiamen, China

man with Swarovksi bag making a purchase at the SM Lifestyle Center Apple Store in Xiamen, China