Advanced Search
Business | Metro | Nation | World | Sports | Features | Specials | Delta Stories
Wahaha says its arbitration application accepted over trademark dispute with Danone
18/6/2007 9:39

China's beverage giant Wahaha Group said yesterday that the company's application for arbitration over a trademark dispute with its French partner Danone, has been accepted by the Hangzhou Arbitration Committee.

The application asks the committee to terminate a trademark transfer contract signed between Hangzhou Wahaha Group and the joint venture of Wahaha and Danone in 1996, said Shan Qining, a spokesman for Hangzhou Wahaha Group.

Wahaha said its contract with Danone was never approved by China's trademark authority, which means the transfer is invalid and thus the contract should have terminated.

Shan said the Wahaha trademark belongs to Hangzhou Wahaha Group and not with Danone.

Danone, which owns 51 percent stake of the 39 joint ventures, has accused Wahaha of setting up independent companies and selling products identical to those sold by the joint ventures.

Danone is demanding a 51-percent stake in the non-joint venture companies, which Wahaha Group has rejected.

Danone filed its first lawsuit against Wahaha on May 9 in Stockholm.

On June 4, Danone filed a lawsuit in the Los Angeles-based Superior Court against Ever Maple Trading Ltd. and Hangzhou Hongsheng Beverage Co Ltd, and two individuals related to the companies.

Ever Maple Trading Ltd is the controlling shareholder of Hangzhou Hongsheng Beverage, which is the parent company of Hangzhou Wahaha Food and Beverage Sales Co, Danone's joint venture partner in China.

On June 6, Zong Qinghou, founder and chairman of Wahaha Group, resigned from his post as chairman of its 39 joint ventures with Danone.

Emmanuel Faber has been named interim chairman of the joint ventures.