We’ve seen everything from fake brand condoms to fake world landmarks in China, and now, a fake Goldman Sachs can be added to the list.
Goldman Sachs (Shenzhen) Financial Leasing Co. has been operating in China since 2013 but was only recently brought to our attention in a recent Bloomberg report.
The company uses the Chinese name gao sheng (高盛), the same as used by the original Goldman Sachs. Even the font used in its logo is similar to the one used by the bank headquartered in New York, the report points out.
A receptionist at the company denied any connection with the multinational corporation when speaking with reporters on the phone. Before hanging up on the interviewer, however, she did say it was first time she’d heard of this allegation, adding, “We just picked the name out, and it’s not intentionally the same.”
The story of Goldman Sachs is part of a wider investigation by a US gambling union into fraudulent casinos based in Macau. In a letter from the union to Chinese officials, the companies are accused of money laundering and are connected to the family of Cheung Chi-tai. According to South China Morning Post, the casino junket has been accused of laundering at least 1.6 billion HKD, as of July.
The Shenzhen Goldman Sachs website www.szgoldman.net is inaccessible at present, but a quick Google search will tell you there are a number of companies in China using the gao sheng tag, including GS Logistics. Perhaps there is some legitimacy to the receptionist’s claim that the Chinese characters (高盛) have a different meaning to what the US gambling union investigation is claiming, and going on the track record of foreign trademark cases in Chinese courts, the argument may even stand up. Keep in mind the recent failure of Michael Jordan’s attempts to sue Chinese company Qiaodan.
The copycats of China exist because of differences between Chinese and international trademark laws. Whereas well-known trademarks have some protection under international law, in China any trademark must be registered with the relevant administration in writing before it can be recognised by courts.
by Daniel Cunningham