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The Silicon Review Asia

The luxury brand Manolo Blahnik won the right to use its name in China

The luxury brand Manolo Blahnik won the right to use its name in China

Following a lengthy legal battle, the United Kingdom-based luxury shoemaking brand, Manolo Blahnik won the right to use its name in China.

The company was named after its Spanish founder Manolo Blahnik. The company has made many unsuccessful attempts to use its name in China since 2000. The high-end shoemaker could not operate in China for 20 years because a local businessman, Fang Yuzhou, had trademarked the company's name. Fang Yuzhou has trademarked "Manolo & Blahnik" and appeared to be selling the brand's shoe.

Around trademarks, China has "first to file" rules, which meant that Mr. Fang's claim to the name "Manolo & Blahnik" in 1999 was long viewed to be stronger than Manolo Blahnik’s claim. However, the law has been amended to consider that filings could be made in "bad faith." This has resulted in some high-profile victories for international brands against Chinese businesses.

Products of Manolo Blahnik had only been available to Chinese consumers through third-party online platforms and its regional stores in Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan. The company's chief executive Kristina Blahnik said that Manolo Blahnik plans to start selling its shoe in China next year. She added, "We won't be racing with a rocket into China, but gently walking."

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