A Guangdong provincial court ruled in favor of herbal tea maker Guangzhou Pharmaceutical Holdings after a lengthy trademark dispute with rival JDB Group.
JDB said in a statement on Monday that it would immediately appeal to the Supreme People's Court, the nation's top court, after the Guangdong High People's Court ruled that six subsidiaries of the Hong Kong enterprise had jointly infringed on Guangzhou Pharmaceutical's trademark and must pay the company 317 million yuan ($43.8 million) in compensation.
The lawsuit was originally filed early in 2014 by Guangzhou Pharmaceutical, which produces the well-known canned red herbal tea Wanglaoji. The dispute has drawn widespread attention from the public and judicial authorities over the years.
JDB — which invested in Guangdong by building its first production base in Dongguan, a traditional manufacturing city in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area — started promoting its canned red herbal tea, Jiaduobao, in 2012, according to sources with the company's website.
The Guangdong High People's Court originally ruled in favor of Guangdong Pharmaceutical in 2018, ordering JDB to pay the company 1.44 billion yuan. Both companies were dissatisfied — Guangdong Pharmaceutical had sought damages of 2.93 billion yuan — and appealed the judgment.
In June 2019, the SPC found that there were significant flaws in the evidence presented by Guangzhou Pharmaceutical during the original trial. It nullified the judgment and sent the case back to the Guangzhou court for a retrial.
In its statement on Monday, JDB claimed the retrial judgment was inconsistent with the SPC's and vowed to appeal to resolutely protect its legitimate rights and interests.
It also said that the recent ruling would not have any impact on its business and that it would continue to provide healthy, high-quality products for its consumers.
Guangzhou Pharmaceutical also said in a statement that the ruling would not impact its business.