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August 6, 2008

CHINA: Danone fights on in Wahaha battle

Danone said that it will continue its trademark battle with the management of Wahaha after a Chinese court ruled against the French food giant yesterday (5 August).

Danone said that it will continue its trademark battle with the management of Wahaha after a Chinese court ruled against the French food giant yesterday (5 August).


Responding to a ruling from a court in Hangzhou that came down in favour of Wahaha’s right to the trademark, Danone said it would pursue all legal options to protect its contractual rights and financial interests.


Danone said the decision should be rescinded because it “distorted the facts of the case, intentionally and maliciously misinterpreted and misapplied the laws of the People’s Republic of China, and was an award that completely ignored the facts and law”.


Danone added that it had hoped the Hangzhou court would carry out a substantive review of the legality of the arbitration process.


However, the company told just-food: “The Hangzhou court only carried out a procedural review for this case (specifically, the Hangzhou court failed to conduct a substantive review of the accuracy and legality of the determination of facts and application of law) and rendered its ruling based on a procedural review only.”


While the court’s decision is final, Danone insisted that it would pursue the case further. “Danone will report to the appropriate superior judicial authorities in the PRC,” the company said.


Danone owns a 51% stake in its joint venture with Wahaha.


The group has accused Wahaha and its chairman, Zong Qinghou, of establishing parallel manufacturing and distribution of products covered by the joint venture agreement.

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