Orange County Trademark Attorney® Blog

Electrolux Wins Trademark Infringement Lawsuit Against Chinese Imposters

February 21, 2012

refrigerator.jpgOrange County - Swedish appliance-maker Aktiebolaget Electrolux has recently won a trademark infringement lawsuit against three Chinese companies and was awarded 121,000 yuan ($19,209) in damages.

According to the trademark infringement complaint filed last year, Electrolux claimed that the three Chinese companies had illegally produced and sold washing machines and refrigerators using a trademark of "ELEKES," which was quite similar to Electrolux' registered trademarks in China. Some of the infringing products were even reported to have used the Swedish flags and logos such as "High Tech from Sweden," which was clearly a deliberate effort to mislead consumers, according to the complaint.

"This has constituted illicit competition, which is against the Chinese law," stated trademark attorneys for the Stockholm, Sweden-based Electrolux.

Electrolux asked the three Chinese companies to stop infringing its trademarks and demanded compensation of 500,000 yuan. Electrolux also ordered one of the three defendants, Quindao ELEKES Electronic Appliance Co., to immediately change its name, which contained the exact same characters as Electrolux' Chinese brand name.

The Chinese court ruled that the pronunciation of "ELEKES" was very similar to the to the famous brand manufactured by Electrolux, which could be easily mistaken by consumers in the marketplace.

In its prosecution, Electrolux contended that it had established Electrolux China, a fully-owned subsidiary of the Swedish company, in the Chinese mainland in 1995. It also stated that since then it has worked hard to earn a favorable reputation with consumers through its high quality brand products and promotional campaigns.

Electrolux initially started out in the early twentieth century selling Lux-branded vacuum cleaners in several European countries. By 1925, the company had added refrigerators to its product line with other major appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers to follow in the years to come. Electrolux made its initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange in 1928 and another on the Stockholm Stock Exchange in 1930. In recent years, the company has become the world's second-largest home appliance manufacturer by share after Whirlpool.

Some of Electrolux' well-known appliance brands include, Eureka, Frigidaire, Gibson, Tappan, and Westinghouse, just to name a few.