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Business trends

Muji follows Apple and Starbucks into China trademark storm

Tendency to favor 'first to register' underscores importance of planting flag early

TOKYO/SHANGHAI -- The recent case in which Ryohin Keikaku, the Tokyo-based company that runs the Muji chain of household goods stores, lost a trademark battle in a Chinese court has cast doubt over whether foreign companies will be allowed to compete fairly with local rivals and be treated equally in the country.

"The lesson that I have learned from this case is: secure your own rights first when you are considering expanding your business overseas," said Satoru Matsuzaki, president of Ryohin Keikaku, on Friday at a press conference. "It is also important to assert your rights and make people understand them."

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