trademark squatter

1. the only person that will pay more attention to your brand protection than you

 

Rainbow Village

In Taiwan, Veteran’s Villages or Military Dependents’ Villages are referring to housing built for soldiers and their dependents who came from all over China after the Chinese nationalist government fled to Taiwan in 1949.

For their mix of the unique livelihoods, diverse local cuisines brought from China, and the historical backgrounds of these villages, they have become a part of the distinct culture of Taiwan.

The Rainbow Village in Taichung is one of the most famous ones. It was once facing demolition but received a second chance thanks to the color-saturated and childlike paintings made by veteran Huang Yong Fu. Thanks to his striking artwork he has earned the nickname Rainbow Grandpa and the village has become a must-visit tourist attraction.

Learn more about the Rainbow Village: https://mymodernmet.com/painted-rainbow-village-taiwan/

Trademark Squatter

Recently the Rainbow Village became another victim of a trademark squatter.

A person called Gang Zhou from China visited the Rainbow Village last May. Later he contacted the Village’s management company to inform them that he had already registered the Rainbow Village trademark and demanded they pay nearly NTD 1 million to buy back their trademark.

And the situation got worse. Gang Zhou even launched an affiliate program for restaurants. To attract investments, Zhou claimed that his company was now the Rainbow Village from Taiwan and their leading products will be Taiwan style breakfast and they advertised using paintings made by Mr. Huang AKA Rainbow Grandpa without his consent.

More information about Gang Zhou surfaced showing this is not the first time he has squatted on someone else’s brand. He had done the same to a brand in Japan.

Time will tell if Mr. Huang and his friends will be able to reclaim their trademark.

This case reminds us about the many conversations I have with my clients when we have to inform them that someone is squatting on their trademark. It might be hard to believe that even though you have just started your business that someone from thousands of miles away have already found your brand and registered it. But the truth is we find squatting cases on a monthly base; last week we found a company that had recently filed 125 trademark applications and many of them were brand names from around the world.

When your trademark has been squatted it is important that you:

  • Collect the evidence both of your own usage of this mark and the squatter’s
  • Evaluate the situation
  • Find out as much as you can about the background of the squatter

Then it is time to decide which legal measure will have the best chance and formulate convincing arguments. There are no guarantees you will be able to retrieve your trademark. For short – this is a time and energy consuming war that it is best to avoid!

Learn more about squatters: https://musa-trademark.com/trademark-blog/trademark-squatter/

How to avoid squatters!

A stitch in time saves nine; at MUSA Trademark we use comprehensive trademark strategy and trademark development services to save you from squatters.

When you just start your business you are probably on a limited budget so you need to find the balance between your budget and full international protection. Do an honest risk evaluation. As your business grows it is important to keep your trademark updated in step with your business development.

If you have a brand/name/logo that you want to protect but don’t know where to start, MUSA Trademark would love to work with you to decide on your trademark strategy and development