The Trademark Office of the People’s Republic of China has ruled in favour of an application to revoke Burberry’s trademark for its iconic tartan pattern in respect of leather goods on the grounds of non-use.

In the latest in a series of long running trade mark disputes in Asia between Burberry and a Chinese company which produces leather goods bearing a similar print, the Chinese company sought to invalidate the Burberry mark on leather goods as it had not been used for three years. The Trademark Office ruled in favour of this application and Burberry are appealing the decision.

It serves as an important reminder to companies with international registrations in China that such registrations will be prone to attack if they are not used for a period of three years. This means that thought must be put into the common practice of ‘defensive registrations’ in China.