Foreign Brand Encounter IP Trap in China Australia’s YPL Caught in the Tank of Chinese Counterfeit Products
August 11, 2022 at 04:27 AM EDT
The loopholes in China’s IP protection have caused many overseas brands that have developed rapidly in China to encounter huge risks. Recently, the Australian brand YPL announced to spend 500 million yuan to launch offline advertising in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing and other new first-tier cities across the country. YPL’s sudden move to China is meaningful as a well-known Australian brand worldwide. Although YPL has not publicly stated the reason, the outside world is generally willing to associate it with the news about YPL’s vigorous crackdown on counterfeiting in April this year. The outside world has also interpreted this investment as the latest example of YPL’s deepening of its brand influence in China and its efforts to rectify copycat brands.
According to public information, YPL is the best-selling sportswear brand in Australia, and its products are sold in more than 20 countries and regions worldwide. According to query data from the Chinese search engine Baidu, in 2020, YPL’s sales exceeded 600 million yuan, an increase of more than 30% year-on-year in 2019. YPL is still a well-known and well-known brand in China. However, on the e-commerce platform, the reporter searched for YPL keywords, compared the product sequence of YPL’s self-operated flagship store, and found a number of products that did not belong to Australian YPL. For example, a product called “YPL Sunscreen Cool Sensation Pant” sold 40,000 pieces on a short video platform, while another product called “YPL Cloud Sensation Outdoor Sunscreen Clothe” was put on the shelves by many Taobao purchasing agents. According to this, the reporter consulted the back-end customer service of YPL’s official flagship store, and the other party said that these two products are not official products of YPL in Australia. The other party declined to comment when the reporter asked how YPL would handle such copycat products this way. Subsequently, the reporter contacted the YPL brand to express an interview request, but we received no reply as of press time.
“Many people in the industry know that the Australian YPL brand was counterfeited. They are officially reluctant to talk about it, because protecting the relevant rights is going through legal procedures.” A person familiar with the matter who is also engaged in cross-border trade in China said. The protagonist of this counterfeiting incident is not only the official brand – “Australia YPL Co., Ltd.”, but also the “Devil Peak Behind” – Harbin Aoshengyuan Trading Co., Ltd.
It is understood that in 2014, the Australian YPL trademark was approved in China. However, in 2019 and 2022, Harbin Aoshengyuan Trading Co., Ltd. took advantage of China’s intellectual property protection loopholes to register two “YPL” related trademarks in China. Then they turned to use these two trademarks to authorize the counterfeiting of genuine Australian YPL products.
More importantly, the YPL-related trademarks held by this Harbin company are not a brand that makes its products safely, but are rubbing off the brand popularity of “Australia YPL” by playing edge ball or directly illegal. One example is this fake “YPL Sunscreen Cool Sensation Pant” product. The body of the trousers is impressively printed with the YPL letter and graphic logo of Australia’s YPL, which has been registered and protected since 2014. Another fake “YPL Cloud Sensation Outdoor Sunscreen Clothe” has a dog icon printed on the clothes’ surface that is very similar to the registered dog graphic logo of YPL in Australia. Even more exaggerated is that even though its dresses are made in China, the company has chosen to sell them in many purchasing agent stores, trying to mix the genuine with the fictitious.
The reporter learned that counterfeit products not only seriously damage the interests and reputation of genuine products, but also harm consumers’ right to know and consumer rights. These fake YPL products are produced by small domestic factories, and do not have the shaping technology and cutting-edge design that Australian YPL is proud of. They mainly deceive consumers with low-price strategies, supplemented by various anchors and platforms, and the sales volume is staggering.
It is worth mentioning that although Australia’s YPL has been tight-lipped about this incident, the outside world can still judge its basic ideas through its specific actions. According to public information, recently, YPL announced to spend 500 million yuan to buy offline advertising spaces in first-tier and new first-tier cities, deepening consumers’ brand impression of genuine Australian YPL. “At present, the first advertising spots have covered the core business districts and high-end office buildings of the three new first-tier cities, Hangzhou, Chengdu and Chongqing. Next, it will cover the first-tier cities with the highest brand recognition of YPL, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, so that more people can understand the charm of YPL. “The head of the YPL brand previously told the media.