French dairy giant Groupe Danone SA, which lost ownership to the
iconic Chinese trademark Wahaha in an arbitration case, said the
verdict was illegal and wrong and planned to petition the court to
Danone's attorney, who was identified as Tao, said the company
is going to appeal at Hangzhou Intermediate People's Court to
revoke the arbitration verdict ruling that Hangzhou Wahaha Group,
China's biggest beverage maker, owns the Wahaha brand.
The verdict is illegal and wrong, Tao said.
Danone said the verdict was made by distorting the facts on five
major points, including the effectiveness of the trademark transfer
agreement and its approval and transfer procedure.
An arbitrator designated by Danone didn't sign the verdict, Tao
A Hangzhou arbitration bureau ruled that a trademark transfer
contract can no longer be executed because the time for Danone's
action has expired.
Wahaha filed an arbitration claim on June 14 to end the
trademark transfer agreement set out in a joint-venture agreement
in 1996, claiming it owns the brand on the basis of a reply from
the State Trademark Office, saying it "did not consent to the
Danone filed a counter claim in July.
The trademark dispute is a crucial step in a bitter legal battle
that began in April between the two companies. At one time the
firms worked together as the most successful Sino-French joint
Paris-based Danone alleged that Zong Qinghou, chairman of
Wahaha, set up separate companies that produce competitive products
and used the Wahaha brand without permission, breaching the
It also filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles seeking more than US$100
million for alleged illegal sales in addition to arbitration in
Stockholm for compensation of 800 million euros (US$1.1 billion) in
Wahaha also said yesterday it won a lawsuit against a Danone
executive for unlawful competition in China.
A statement from Wahaha said the Guilin Intermediate People's
Court found Francois Caquelin, who was appointed by Danone to the
board of the joint venture with Wahaha, engaged in unfair
competition because he took similar positions in rival
The claim would also be considered against Danone Asia President
Emmanuel Faber and Danone China President Qin Peng, Wahaha
Danone said it will appeal the Guilin decision.
The dispute with Wahaha has caused huge financial losses for
Last year, Danone made a profit of more than 10 billion yuan
globally with the Asia-Pacific region contributing 20 percent.
(Shanghai Daily December 11, 2007)