Chinese Court Awards Hennessy a Judgment Against Counterfeitors.

SHANGHAI, November 30, 2005 -- Cognac distiller Hennessy won a trademark lawsuit yesterday against two counterfeiters in the Shanghai No 2 Intermediate People's Court.

The Chinese court ordered a trading company in Zhuhai, Guangdong Province, and its bottling agency in Xiamen, Fujian Province, to cease the counterfeiting activites immediately, pay compensation of more than 300,000 yuan (US$37,000) and publish an apology in the Xinmin Evening News, a local newspaper.

Societe Jas Hennessy registered its trademark in China in 1980. In July 2004, Hennessy found a product line of wine products sold at a Carrefour store that claimed to be French cognac brandy. A trademark, HAHNISSY, was used on its package, wine bottles and label, which was similar to the tradeemark of Hennessy.

The court found the Xiamen Golden Huanya Food Company put the wine into the bottle and that the Zhuhai Xiangmutong Trading Company distributed the products. Xiangmutong, founded in 2002, file a trademark registration application for the HANLISSY trademark in June 2003 and got approval from the State Trademark Office in June 2004. Hennessy subsequently applied to the office to revoke the registration. While the office was reviewing the petition to revoke, Hennessy filed its lawsuit againt the two companies, seeking compensation of 500,000 yuan (US$61,600).

Xiangmutong argued the two trademarks are not alike in any way. While the hand in Hennessy's trademark holds an axe, Hanlissy's warrior holds a sword and shield.

The court ruled that the English letters of HANLISSY and HENNESSY were confusingly similar in look and pronunciation which might easily cause confusion among consumers.

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