Why Bloomberg sued two Chinese companies over the mark “Pengbo”

Following Mr.Schwimmer’s post on November 14, 2005, I’m here to explain briefly why Bloomberg sued two Chinese companies over the mark “Pengbo”, by providing some information on how foreign companies choose their trademarks in China.

Once a foreign company expanded its market to China, they need to choose a Chinese name of its trademark, for both marketing strategy and the requirement of Chinese law. Basically there are three ways to choose a Chinese name, by translation (meaning), by transliteration (sound), or a mix of this two (sound+meaning).

  • Microsoft’s Chinese name is a good example of translation. Microsoft’s Chinese name is , pronounced “Wei Ruan”, this pronunciation is totally different from the English word “Microsoft”, but those two Chinese characters together consist the exact meaning of Microsoft. Other examples are like Apple, IBM.
  • DELL’s Chinese name “Dai Er” is exactly a transliteration, since there is no meaning as a Sir name. Foreign companies had to pay more attention when choosing their Chinese transliteration names, in the unique Chinese language, they may have found several Chinese words with the same pronunciation but totally different meanings.
  • Most foreign companies in this situation turned to the third way, mix the sound and meaning. They used the Chinese words containing good meanings and similar pronunciation as the original trademark. Bloomberg’s Chinese mark is an example of this practice. The transliteration of Bloomberg in Chinese character is , but Bloomberg chose as its mark in China, personally I think this is a very good one, the pronunciation “Peng Bo” is similar to Bloomberg, and it means wide coverage, which is very suitable for Bloomberg’s product and service.

Back to the issue raised by Mr. Schwimmer, why Bloomberg is suing over the mark “Peng Bo”? Let’s compare these two marks. These two marks have the exact same pronunciation, but Bloomberg’s mark is , while Defendant’s mark is , now can you recognize the difference between the first character of each mark? These two marks have the same pronunciation, looks very similar, and the defendant also provide financial data and news service, no wander Bloomberg sued.


One Response to “Why Bloomberg sued two Chinese companies over the mark “Pengbo””

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