China is today filing the largest number of trademarks applications and registrations in the world (1).
The current Chinese Trademark Law offers relatively poor protection for rights’ holders and the registration delays are excessively long.
The current Trademark Law was recently revised and the new amended Law will become effective as of May 1, 2014. The major fundamental changes and improvements are summarized below:
- Recognition of legal status for well-known trademarks but the Chinese Trademark Office will only recognize them in specific cases during the application process or during administrative or legal proceedings for counterfeit. The new law also prohibits the use of the phrase “well-known trademark” on products or their packaging and across communication channels. Increased fines for trademark infringement of up to 3 million yuans (about 490.000 US dollars), six times the previous limit.
- Acceptance of sound trademark registrations.
- Possibility of multi-class applications.
- Introduction of a specific and limited period for the examination of applications.
- Recognition of electronic filings.
The new Law also provides for procedural adjustments, including:
- A revised objection procedure during the three months following publication before proceeding to registration.
- The possibility for the Trademark Office to suspend an examination process if it depends on another ongoing case.
- The introduction of proceedings for the invalidation of a registered trademark.
- The possibility to apply for renewal of the registration within 12 months of the expiration date.
- The need to register trademark licensing agreements with the Chinese Trademark Office.
Dreyfus team can advise you about your trademark’s protection and enforcement in China and provide you with any additional information you might need.
(1) WIPO 2012 http://www.wipo.int/ipstats/en/wipi/figures.html