Local private educational institutes ordered to pay TWD1 million damages to National Taiwan University for trademark infringement
E200602Y2 | Jul. 2020（E248）
Taiwan’s most prestigious university, National Taiwan University (hereinafter referred to as “Taiwan University”) filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against two private educational institutes in Kaohsiung, Li-Kung Educational Group (hereinafter referred to as “Li-Kung”) and Taida Digital Technology Education Co., Ltd. (translation of Chinese company name: 台大數位科技教育股份有限公司; hereinafter referred to as “Taida Education Company”). Without Taiwan University’s authorization and consent, the two educational institutes used Taiwan University’s registered Chinese character mark, “台大” and the transliterated English version, “TAIDA” mark (hereinafter collectively referred to as “Taiwan University’s marks”), and also the other Chinese character combinations containing the two Chinese characters, “台大”, such as, “台大數位學院” (literally meaning Taida Digital Institute) and “台大數位科技學院” (literally meaning Taida Digital Technology Institute) for their educational services provided in the institute or through e-learning platform. The Taiwan IP Court heard this case and ruled in the first instance proceedings that Li-Kung and Taida Education Company should jointly and severally pay Taiwan University TWD1 million in damages.
The IP Court sustained Li-Kung’s and Taida Education Company’s trademark infringement upon Taiwan University’s marks based on the following reasoning and holding: The materials provided and sold by Li-Kung and Taida Education Company, such as, their online courses, handouts, and tests questions and answers are oriented to all kinds of tests and examinations, which goes against Taiwan University’s purpose of education and academic research as an institute of higher education as widely recognized by consumers. Moreover, Li-Kung’s and Taida Education Company’s use of Taiwan University’s well-known trademarks, “台大” mark and “TAIDA” mark for marketing their short-term supplementary educational courses will cause consumers to associate the quality and image represented by Taiwan University’s marks with negative or depreciating concept and further to form a likelihood of diluting the distinctiveness and business reputation of Taiwan University’s marks. (Released 2020.06.02)