Gucci filed for a legal warning against two HongKong based “Afterlife offering” companies. These companies are being alleged for selling ‘copycat’ paper machie versions of luxury prodects.
Afterlife offering stores are popular in China for a certain ceremony recurring every year called the ‘Qingming’.
WHAT IS QINGMING
Qingming festival is also called tomb cleaning day. This festval marks the importance of remembrance of ancestors through worship and offerings. In tradition Chinese folk are known to burn paper money and other paper objects which they believe will be of use to their ancestors in the afterworld. Currently, this has become a more popular trend with people looking to offer more luxurious and branded objects to the dead. PAper machie versions of electronics, fashion brands, board games, and the traditional paper money are few offerings are set ablaze among others like fresh flowers and fruits.
After noticing paper products bearing the brand of Italian fashion house, Gucci, they had sent a legal warning to two companies asking them to stop the sale of such ‘copycat’ products and also to disclose the names of their suppliers. One shopkeeper revealed the name of the supplier to be ‘Shantou’ of the Gangdong province. Another of the shopowners exclaimed saying that it does not amount to infringement as they did not sell but burnt the objects.
LAwyers argued that this is a certain infringemwnt of Trademark as teh products are being advertised as the branded products and cause confusion to the buyers; despite the fact that they are being burnt, they are still being baught and made profit of.
But the court held, at the end, that this has been a tradition for a great number of years in China now and because of the cultural continuity, i shall not be held an act of infringement.