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Chinese authorities find fake Goldman Sachs office

Chinese authorities have discovered a company which appears to be using the Goldman Sachs name without authorisation, Bloomberg has reported28 Aug 2015

The firm in Shenzhen has been calling itself Goldman Sachs (Shenzhen) Financial Leasing Company. The company uses the same Chinese characters as the US Goldman Sachs bank, and its English font is similar to the bank’s, Bloomberg said.

Goldman Sachs told Bloomberg that there are no ties between the companies and that it is looking into the matter.

Hong Kong based Paul Haswell of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com said: "This doesn't surprise me at all. There have been quite a few cases where Chinese individuals or organisations have registered in China the trademark of an existing and established overseas brand."

Challenging the use of the Goldman Sachs name is unlikely to be successful, Haswell said,

"It’s notoriously difficult for an overseas claimant to persuade the Chinese courts that there has been trademark infringement," said Haswell. "There’s still a practice of whoever registers first wins."

"While lots of overseas companies have become smarter, and are registering their brands in China, they are not always quick to trademark the Chinese language version of a brand name, hence this Goldman Sachs issue," he said.

Michael Jordan, the basketball player, is a good example if this, Haswell said.

"In the 1990s Jordan registered his name as a trademark in China but failed to register the Chinese transliteration of his name, which is 乔丹 or Qiaodan. A Chinese company registered Qiaodan, along with the number 23, which is Jordan’s number, and has been selling Qiaodan sportswear ever since which the average consumer in China assumes is Michael Jordan’s own sportswear brand. Michael Jordan has sued in China to get the name back, and lost on every single count," he said.

Earlier this year the Chinese state owned news agency Xinhua reported that a man in Shandong had been arrested for running a fake branch of China Construction Bank. With fake card readers, signs and logos, the bank was staffed by the man's family and stole thousands of yuan before the fake was discovered, Xinhua said. 

China's State of Administration of Industry and Commerce (SAIC) launched a campaign in June to cut the sale of counterfeit and poor quality goods online.