Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal has ruled in favour of Tsit Wing, the the largest coffee and tea distributor in the territory, in an infringement case against TWG Tea Company, a Singapore concern which produces tea and operates tea salons, over the use of TWG’s trade marks.

Deacons, which acted for Tsit Wing throughout the proceedings, says it remains one of very few IP cases that has gone to the Court of Final Appeal in Hong Kong. Deacons is rated as outstanding for intellectual property in the 2016 edition of Asialaw Profiles.

Tsit Wing won the case at trial in the Court of First Instance in July 2013 and was successful in both trade mark infringement and passing-off actions and secured an indemnity costs order against TWG Tea. The matter won “Hong Kong IP Case of the Year 2013,” from respected intellectual property publication, Managing IP. 

Tsit Wing won its case again when it went to the Court of Appeal in October 2014. TWG obtained leave to appeal to the Court of Final Appeal because it argued the case involves fundamental issues that will clarify the state of trade mark law and passing off in Hong Kong. 

Deacons says the decision concerns the development of dilution as a ground of damage in passing off as well as the interpretation of the infringement test of the Trade Marks Ordinance in light of Hong Kong’s international obligations pursuant to TRIPS; and the aural features of a trade mark in circumstances where other figurative and coloured elements also exist.