Danish cookie dispute case “Crown” loses case, was found to pay compensation for false propaganda “Blue Can”

The dispute between Danish Blue Can Cookies and Crown Danish Cookies, two common cookie products in the market, has progressed. According to a civil judgment of the second instance of the unfair competition dispute between You Yijia (Shanghai) Food Trading Co., Ltd. and Denmark Qixin Blue Can Co., Ltd., which was recently published by the judgment document network, because it was found that the advertising and publicity involved in the case constituted false publicity for the origin and quality of Crown Cookie products, You Yijia (Shanghai) Food Trading Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as “You Yijia Company”), the domestic distributor of Crown Danish cookies, lost the case in the second instance and was ruled to dismiss the appeal and uphold the original judgment.

According to the original judgment of the first instance, You Yijia must stop the unfair competition behavior involved in false publicity, publish the report to eliminate the impact, and compensate the plaintiff Danish Qixin Blue Can Company for economic losses of 2 million yuan and reasonable expenses of 40,000 yuan for a total of 2.04 million yuan. However, it is worth noting that the court also found again in the second instance that You Yijia Company did not constitute an act of unfair competition by unauthorized use of the unique packaging and decoration of well-known goods. On October 16, You Yijia responded to a reporter from the Beijing News that it would respect the court’s decision.

On the other hand, last year, You Yijia Company also filed a lawsuit against Danish Blue Can Company, its affiliates, distributors and other relevant parties on the grounds of false publicity and other improper acts on the history, quality, limit wording, origin, Danish royal title, etc., claiming 30 million yuan, and the case is currently under trial.

“Crown” Cookie lost the final trial

According to the (2018) Jing 73 Min Zhong No. 538 judgment rendered by the Beijing Intellectual Property Court recently disclosed by the judgment document network, in 2015, Denmark Qixin Blue Can Co., Ltd., the manufacturer of “Blue Can”, sued You Yijia Company, a domestic distributor of “Crown”, and Shijingshan Branch of the seller, Contemporary Mall, for unfair competition, believing that the front pattern of “Crown” products was similar to the front packaging and decoration of “Blue Can” products, and at the same time, “Crown” made false publicity about its origin, quality and production ingredients. It is an act of unfair competition; The two defendants were required to immediately stop the unfair competition behavior of unauthorized use of packaging, decoration and false publicity of well-known goods, and demanded that You Yijia be awarded compensation of 10 million yuan for economic losses and reasonable expenses.

The Shijingshan District Court ruled that You Yijia Company needed to stop the unfair competition conduct involved in false publicity immediately after the judgment became effective, including ceasing to promote the production of crown cookie products produced before September 4, 2014 as Denmark, stopping the use of pictures and pictures in the style of European court figures with crown cookie product designs in advertising, and stopping the use of advertising slogans such as “royal”, “Danish royal family”, “royal formula” and “royal royal system”.

In addition, within 30 days from the effective date of the judgment, You Yijia Company eliminated the impact of the unfair competition behavior caused by the false publicity involved in the case on the Danish Blue Can Company (the content of the statement must be reviewed by the court of first instance). If the performance is not performed within the time limit, the Danish Blue Can Company may publish the relevant content of the judgment in the designated media, and the relevant expenses shall be borne by Youyijia Company. You Yijia Company shall compensate Danish Blue Can Company for economic losses of 2 million yuan and reasonable expenses of 40,000 yuan for litigation.

After that, You Yijia Company appealed to the Beijing Intellectual Property Court against the judgment of the Shijingshan District Court, requesting that the first-instance judgment be revoked and that the first-instance lawsuit claim of Danish Blue Can Company be dismissed. Recently, the Beijing Intellectual Property Court rendered a final judgment in this case, finding that all the grounds of appeal of You Yijia lacked factual and legal basis and were not supported. The first-instance judgment found that the facts were clear and the law was correctly applied, and the Beijing Intellectual Property Court upheld it in accordance with the law, dismissed the appeal, and upheld the original judgment. This judgment is final.

In this regard, You Yijia Company replied to an interview with a reporter from the Beijing News on October 16 that it respected the court’s judgment.

However, the Shijingshan District Court also held in the first instance that the front packaging and decoration patterns of Blue Can Cookies and Crown Cookies have been registered as legal and valid trademarks, and You Yijia Company has legally obtained the right to use the registered trademark through licensing, and has not exceeded the scope of the approved goods or used the registered trademark by changing the distinctive features, splitting, combination, etc. in the process of distribution and publicity; For intellectual property rights that have been protected by separate legislation, such as the Trademark Law, it is no longer appropriate to apply the provisions of the Anti-Unfair Competition Law to adjust them.

IN ADDITION, THE PACKAGING AND DECORATION OF CROWN COOKIE PRODUCTS ARE PRINTED BY PT. PENDIDO COMPANY OF INDONESIA, AND THE COOKIE PRODUCTS ARE PRODUCED BY MAITA COMPANY IN INDONESIA, WHICH ARE “IMPORTED ORIGINALLY” BY YOU YIJIA COMPANY AND SOLD IN Chinese mainland; The text contents such as “DANISHSPECIALITYFOODSAPS”, “COPENHAGENDENMARK”, “Danish cookies” and “Authorized to be produced and packaged by Danish Denise Specialty Foods Ltd” used in the front and side graphics of the packaging and decoration of crown cookie products are used in the sales promotion of the Chinese mainland by the defendant Youyijia Company authorized by the British company Elitt Corporation, Denmark Denise Company and Indonesia Maida Company. The above text is part of a registered trademark. Therefore, the court held that the plaintiff’s claim that You Yijia Company used the packaging and decoration unique to well-known goods without authorization was groundless in law and could not be supported. There is no evidence to prove whether Youyijia Company falsely advertised the ingredients in the production of Crown Cookie products.

Indonesia production was once marked as Denmark and was convicted of false propaganda

According to the judgment, the Danish Blue Can Company was established in 1933, has been producing Blue Can cookie products since 1934, and is a supplier to the Danish royal family; The Danish Palace’s Office issued the “Letter on Confirming the Use of Royal Royalty Certification by Danish Kelsen Blue Can Co., Ltd.”, which mainly states that “the Office of the Minister of Palace hereby confirms that since 2009, Danish Qixin Blue Can Co., Ltd. has obtained permission from the Danish Royal Family to use the Royal Royalty certification in its products and marketing.”

Both Crown Cookies and Blue Can cookies have been sold in Chinese mainland since 1993. Founded on July 14, 2008, YOUIJIA has been the Chinese mainland importer and distributor of Crown Cookies since 2009, and has been authorized by Indonesia Maida Company since February 1, 2013 to be responsible for the sales and promotion of Crown Cookie products in Chinese mainland.

According to public reports, in 2014, Youyijia issued a statement on the “crown” related report, saying that the “crown” was formulated and processed by Danish Denise Specialty Foods Co., Ltd., and authorized Indonesia’s Maida Group to produce and export to China. Danish Denise is a Danish company registered in Copenhagen and currently legally valid.

Registered in 1988, the company owns the Danisa (“Crown”) brand rights worldwide and has a Danish cookie factory in the small town of Aalborg in northern Denmark, which is managed by its subsidiary Tylstrup Kager, which focuses on the production and supply of cookies from Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and the United States. It is also one of its 3 production centers worldwide. The second production center is in Indonesia, which licenses production to the Indonesian Maida Group. The third production center is located in Jiyang District, Jinan City, Shandong Province, China, positioning the Chinese market.

According to the judgment of the second instance, before 2014, the origin of Crown Danish cookies had always been Indonesia. On September 4, 2014, after the acquisition of Denmark’s Kagger by Denmark’s Denise S.p.A. Denise GmbH, some of the Crown cookies were produced in Denmark. The content of the advertisement in question was inconsistent with the facts, and false publicity was made about the origin of Crown cookie products.

The extensive use of European court figures-style images accompanied by slogans such as “royal”, “royal recipe” and “royal royal” in its advertising campaigns has led the public to associate Crown cookie products with the Danish Royal Authority, but the company has not actually obtained the authorization of the Danish Royal Family. At the same time, You Yijia Company used slogans such as “most”, “NO.1”, “first place” and “crown cookies finally surpassed all competitors, became the market leader, and became the favorite cookie product of Chinese consumers” in its WeChat public account, but the evidence submitted was insufficient to prove the above content. The court found that the advertisement in question was false, and that the public would normally associate the advertised crown cookie product with the Danish royal family, and then held that the production of the crown cookie product was authorized by the Danish royal family.

The case of “Crown” suing “Blue Can” for unfair competition is still pending

Although the final judgment in the case has been announced, the legal dispute between You Yijia and Denmark’s Blue Can Company has not stopped.

In response to the Beijing News reporter, You Yijia Company said that in 2019, the company filed a lawsuit in the Beijing Haidian District Court against the Danish Blue Can Company and its affiliates, distributors and other relevant parties for false publicity and other improper behaviors in the history, quality, limit wording, origin, Danish royal title and other improper behaviors of Danish Blue Can Cookies, and claimed 30 million yuan from Danish Blue Can Company and its affiliates, distributors and other relevant parties, and the case is currently under trial.

According to the news released by Haidian Court on May 13, 2019, You Yijia Company claimed that “Blue Can” advertised its products in many places on product packaging and websites as “originated in 1933” and had a “100-year history”, which would make consumers mistakenly believe that the product had a history of more than 100 years; Using the “Royal Classic” promotional slogan and promoting “Danish Blue Can has accompanied generations of Danish royalty since its birth” will make consumers mistakenly believe that “Blue Can” has belonged to the royal brand for a hundred years, when in fact it only obtained the Danish Royal Certification in 2009.

You Yijia also believes that “Blue Can” has false publicity for the title of Danish royalty, pointing out that it has repeatedly promoted in video advertisements and official Weibo that only “Blue Can” has won the title of Danish Royal Family on the market, making consumers mistakenly believe that only “Blue Can” of cookie products has been recognized by the Danish Royal Family and the quality is better than other brands of cookies, but in fact, the Danish cookie brand BISCA has also obtained the Danish Royal Family’s certification, and the time is earlier than “Danish Blue Can Cookies”.

On the packaging, You Yijia Company claimed that “Blue Can” had carried out confusing behavior, and that the product packaging and gifts of “Blue Can” had a crown shape similar to the crown in the “Crown” product packaging, which was the unauthorized use of the same or similar logos as the product name, packaging, decoration, etc. that had a certain impact on others. Spreading “Crown” infringes on the exclusive right to use the packaging and decoration of its well-known products of Blue Can Cookies, etc., degrades the reputation of “Crown” products, and damages its commercial credit.

You Yijia Company told the Beijing News reporter that the judgment of the Beijing Intellectual Property Court affirmed the intellectual property rights owned by You Yijia Company, including the use of the word “crown” on its packaging by Crown Danish Cookies as a legitimate use of trademarks, protected by the Trademark Law, and the packaging and decoration of Crown Cookies have been registered as legal and valid trademarks. Danisa Crown Danish Cookies originated from Denmark and are currently sold in the Chinese market, from Denmark and Indonesia, both of which have obtained the inspection and quarantine certificate of inbound goods issued by the China Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau.

In fact, “Blue Can” has always claimed that it is an “authentic” Danish cookie produced in Denmark, and since 2011, the official Weibo of “Blue Can” has clarified that it has nothing to do with “Crown”, saying that the latter is Indonesian cookies, “Danisa is Danisy, not Denmark”, “they are not produced in Denmark at all”, etc. However, the “crown” official Weibo has also released information to prove that it “really comes from Denmark”.

In 2015, the contest between the two sides also led to the removal of players from the Danish national badminton team. Since 2015, “Crown” has been the official sponsor of the Danish national badminton team, but after that, “Blue Can” sponsored five members including Danish men’s doubles players Bowie and Morgansen through personal sponsorship, who refused to terminate their contracts and were therefore removed from the national team.

As for the next step, Youyijia said that it will continue to provide high-quality, safe and delicious Danish crown cookies to Chinese and global consumers in the future.

Beijing News reporter Wang Ziyang Image source Data picture, screenshot of official website

Edited by Li Yan Proofread by Liu Jun