Chinese Court Recognizes and Enforces a South Korean Judgment for the Third Time
This is also the first time that a Chinese court has recognized and enforced a foreign court judgment on an intellectual property case.
In this case, the Beijing Fourth Intermediate People’s Court (the “Beijing Court”) recognized and enforced a judgment rendered by the Supreme Court of South Korea. The assets subject to enforcement was a trademark registered in China.
On 28 Dec. 2022, this court held a press conference to introduce the aforementioned case. The theme of the press conference was “Top Ten Enforcement Cases on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards and Court Judgments by the Beijing Fourth Intermediate People’s Court”.
The court has accepted 332 such cases since it centralized jurisdiction over the cases involving applications for the recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitral awards and court judgments within Beijing in 2018. Among them, ten cases were introduced in this press conference, one of which is the case described in this article.
We have not located the original judgment. The information in this article comes from the press conference of the Beijing Court.
Ⅰ. Case Overview
The Applicant is XX Engineering Co., Ltd. and the Respondent is XX Trading Co., Ltd. From their names, we presume that they are both South Korean registered companies.
The Applicant applied to the Beijing Court for recognition of the civil judgment made by the Supreme Court of South Korea and enforcement of part of the judgment.
In the course of hearing, the Applicant requested the Beijing Court to take interim measures (i.e., property preservation) against the Respondent’s trademark registered in China.
Firstly, the Beijing Court upheld the application for the interim measures and made a ruling prohibiting the Respondent from transferring, canceling and changing the registration of its trademark registered in China and handling trademark pledge registration.
Then, the Beijing Court made a ruling on the application for recognition and enforcement, recognizing the civil judgment rendered by the Supreme Court of South Korea and enforcing part of the judgment. The Respondent is obliged to transfer to the Applicant its registered trademark with the Trademark Office of China National Intellectual Property Administration (the “Trademark Office”) and complete the trademark transfer registration procedures.
Thereafter, the Beijing Court issued an enforcement assistance order to the Trademark Office, requiring the Trademark Office to register the Applicant as the trademark owner of the trademark. The Trademark Office changed the trademark owner in accordance with the enforcement order.
1. The third time
This is the third time that a Chinese court has recognized and enforced a South Korean judgment, and the first time that a local court in Beijing has recognized and enforced a South Korean judgment.
Prior to this, China has twice recognized and enforced South Korean judgments. For details, please see our article below:
- The Second Time China Recognizes a South Korean Judgment
- Chinese Court First Recognizes a South Korean Judgment: Another Sign of Door Open for Foreign Judgments
This indicates that there are no substantial obstacles in China’s recognition and enforcement of South Korean judgments.
2. This is the first time that a Chinese court have recognized and enforced a foreign judgment involving intellectual property rights.
The judgment recognized and enforced by the Beijing Court involved a trademark registered in China, i.e. transferring the Respondent’s trademark registered in China to the Applicant.
This is a breakthrough.
China published a landmark judicial policy on enforcement of foreign judgments in 2022, embarking on a new era for judgment collection in China. The judicial policy is the “Conference Summary of the Symposium on Foreign-related Commercial and Maritime Trials of Courts Nationwide” (hereinafter the “2021 Conference Summary”, 全国法院涉外商事海事审判工作座谈会会议纪要) issued by the China’s Supreme People’s Court (SPC) on 31 Dec. 2021.
According to this judicial policy, intellectual property, unfair competition and anti-monopoly cases may not be recognized and enforced in China. This is similar to the exclusion of such cases in the Hague Judgments Convention.
However, the Beijing Court’s recognition and enforcement of the South Korean judgment involving trademark rights is beyond our expectation. We cannot determine what this means for the time being. We will keep you updated with the latest information we obtain in this regard.
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