Pfizer and Disney Take Their Lumps

Tuesday, February 6, 2007 10:06

It is rare that two global brands take their lumps on the same day, but today was a double feature staring Pfizer’s Viagra and the closure of a factory supplying Disney

For Pfizer, today provided more support for my advice to anyone who manufactures anything… anywhere… register your patents and trademarks early. The little purple pill has become the poster child for what can happen when comes do not plan the IP strategy, and how little can be done after the fact.

For full details go to Forbes coverage, but the basics are:

  • Pfizer releases the little blue pill onto the market, and it becomes a success… a huge success
  • The pill becomes know as Wei Ge in shops…. Mighty Brother
  • Guangzhou Welman, a local pharmaceutical company also producing an anti-impotence drug registered Wei Ge

The ensuing public battle is one that has been written on a number of times, and today the Beijing No.1 Court sided with Guangzhou Welman

For those who are looking to manufacture a product in china and export to the E.U. or U.S. don’t think that you are safe either. this place is FIRST TO FILE and that means you need to be FIRST TO FILE. Please see Cover your Bases.. Cover Your Patents for more as many of the lessons there as just as applicable to trademark protection as they are to patents.

At the same time as Pfizer was licking its wounds, Disney was learning that the employees of a former supplier were rioting as they had all been freed of their jobs without being fully compensated (a BIG BIG NO NO in China).

As reported in China Post , , and even on Mickey News over 1000 employees were just laid off following the cancellation of a Disney contract, and subsequent factory closing. The interesting thing is that the first people to get laid off were the security guards…seems a bit counter-intuitive to me given the history of violent protests in that region

Disney will come out of this fine, but this is their third labor issue to go pubic in Southern China (see here and here and I hope they are increasing audits to ensure that the issues are not more systematic. Perhaps they will even join the next Crossroads event to learn more about the role CSR plays in effective supply chain management

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2 Responses to “Pfizer and Disney Take Their Lumps”

  1. China Law Blog says:

    February 8th, 2007 at 12:43 am

    Viagra’s Functioning Problem Extends To China Trademarks…

    Thanks for the extend idea. I too could not resist. A Chinese appellate court just ruled against Pfizer in a trademark suit against Chinese drug maker Guanzhou Welman. Full Disclosure: I own a very small amount of Pfizer stock, which mean…

  2. All Roads Lead To China » IPR Protection in China’s Second Tier says:

    February 11th, 2007 at 11:29 pm

    […] Remember. No matter what, China is a first to file country. Regardless of where your products are made or sold, filing the papers in China is a good idea.  If you don’t believe me, just ask the people over at Pfizer. […]