Honeywell Wins Trademark Battle Before China’s Supreme Court
Supreme People’s Court confirms protection for Honeywell’s global Garrett brand by rejecting local manufacturer’s marketing plan as too similar and misleading to consumers
The Supreme People’s Court (SPC) of China recently ruled in favor of Honeywell, the leading global developer of automotive turbochargers, and Garrett, its global aftermarket turbocharger brand, in clarifying Chinese trademark law and rejecting a Chinese manufacturer’s request to trademark “Galitt” due to the likelihood of confusion for consumers.
The SPC ruling brings to an end a nine-year legal battle Honeywell has pursued in China to protect its brand identity from a local turbocharger manufacturer. Honeywell successfully argued before China’s highest court that the Garrett brand had acquired a high level of recognition through its 60-year history in global markets. Honeywell argued the local manufacturer was willfully acting in bad faith and trying to capitalize on the established Garrett brand with a similar sounding name and packaging closely copying Garrett design standards.
“This is a meaningful victory for Honeywell, for Garrett, and for consumers,” said Jerry Xia, Honeywell’s chief intellectual property counsel for North Asia. “Following several successful lower court rulings in other cases, this is a significant victory for Honeywell before China’s Supreme Court. It reinforces China’s desire to protect intellectual property rights of companies doing business in the country with registered brands and also the rights of consumers. By rejecting this type of behavior, consumers can select products with more confidence in intended performance, but also with regard to quality and safety.”
In 2006, Honeywell opposed an application for the “Galitt” trademark in China for turbochargers. This trademark was sought by a local manufacturer in Fengcheng, Liaoning Province, which was manufacturing and selling lookalike turbochargers through companies in Fengcheng and Shanghai. Working with Honeywell, local enforcement authorities in China seized these “Galitt” turbochargers.
Honeywell has continued to cooperate with the Chinese government at all levels in the fight against various infringements and piracies to safeguard the rights and interests of customers and protect Honeywell’s intellectual property rights. The successful Garrett brand has attracted many illegal counterfeits and knock-offs in China where misleading brand names like “Gerrett”, “Carrett”, “Garritt”, and look-alike packaging have emerged.
Most recently, Honeywell celebrated another such conviction in Xindu District Court of Chengdu City in Sichuan province, where another counterfeiter and four accomplices were sentenced to jail as well as fines for trademark counterfeiting of Garrett turbos.
As the global auto market continues to adopt turbocharger to meet fuel efficiency and emissions targets, Honeywell is committed to providing customers with turbochargers of the highest quality and safety standards. Honeywell has more than 400 dealers in 70 countries worldwide who sell genuine Garrett turbochargers.
In China, automakers and motorists have embraced the popularity of turbochargers. Honeywell Turbo Technologies is the pioneer of automotive turbocharging dating back more than 60 years, and continues today as the world’s leader in turbo technology. Turbochargers help boost engine performance, enhance drivability and reduce fuel consumption and emissions. Honeywell has shipped more than 100 million turbos worldwide and supplies nearly all major automakers in addition to the global aftermarket under the Garrett brand name.