“HDS” is the abbreviation for “Hot Delivery Service”, meaning the fast delivery service based on punctual departure, arrival and picking of goods. “SHDS” is the abbreviation for “Super Hot Delivery Service”. Since the start of this century, fast delivery service had emerged in near-sea shipping line between China and Japan. “HDS” and “SHDS” started to be used to refer to the delivery service ever since and gradually became accepted as a common term used by all parties.
However a Japanese-invested company secretly filed an application of trademark registration regarding “HDS” and ”SHDS” with the Trademark Bureau of the State Administration of Industry and Commerce, in an attempt to take the commonly used term for its own. After the Trademark Bureau accepted its application, the company claimed that it had obtained the exclusive right to the two terms and the other companies were banned from using them. Jinjiang Shipping is one of the major companies in the industry, whose business would be severely affected if not allowed to use “HDS “ and ”SHDS”. Therefore, Mr. Yang was engaged to file a trademark opposition with the Trademark Bureau.
Mr. Yang guided and assisted Jinjiang Shipping in the collection of evidence proving that a large number of shipping operators with itself included had long used “HDS” as a common term and that the government, industry association and the media had acknowledged it as the common term for fast delivery service. Evidence was also provided to prove that foreign government and media also accept ‘HDS’ as a common term. Therefore, the “HDS” as applied was a common term used in the industry as an abbreviation of “Hot Delivery Service”. The application shall be denied on the ground that it lacked distinctiveness. Mr. Yang further pointed out in the statement of trademark opposition that the registration category within which the trademark application was filed was the same as “HDS” which was used as a common term. If the trademark was successfully registered and used, the interest of the whole shipping industry as well as the opponent would be damaged. Since the application of “SHDS” is similar to “HDS”, it shall also be denied.
After hearing the case, Trademark Bureau held that “HDS” was the abbreviation of “Hot Delivery Service”, used by the shipping industry as a common term. The trademark under application therefore lacked distinctiveness. According to Clause 2 Article 11 and Article 33 of the Trademark Law of the People’s Republic of China, the application was denied. But the application of “SHSD” was sustained, which might be because this case was examined by another official and relied on the result of examination on “HDS”.
Jinjiang Shipping therefore engaged Mr. Yang to file a review application with the Trademark Review Committee , in which it was emphasized that “HDS” was a common term lacking distinctiveness and whose application was denied. “SHDS” was similar to “HDS”. If allowed to be registered, the operators in the industry would be faced with tremendous legal barriers and suffer great loss. Therefore, it shall be denied. The Trademark Review Committee held that “SHDS” was used in shipping business, connoting that the service had a common term and could not distinguish the source of the service provided. The application was therefore denied.