New Trademark Law to be enforced in China

The new Trademark Law of China has been issued and will come into force on May 1, 2014. Marked changes in the areas of anti-piracy, prosecution, enforcement, well-known mark determination and usage, opposition, and cancellation have been made. The foreign companies in China and their attorney should be aware of these latest changes so that the rights and interests are not prejudiced and they do not miss the new opportunities.

 The important changes made include:

  • Increased protection against piracy.
  • Reduced trademark prosecution time.
  • Availability of sound marks and multiple class trademark applications.
  • Strengthened well-known mark protection.
  • Narrowed legal standing for oppositions and invalidation.
  • A mark proceeding to registration if the opposition fails at the first level of adjudication at the Trademark Office
  • Increased fines, compensation, and statutory damage against infringement

 The implementing regulation to the new Trademark Law is expected to be issued soon to provide details on the implementation of the provisions of the new Trademark Law.

Meanwhile trademark infringement and piracy continue uncontrolled in China. The intended result of the current changes in the Trademark Law with its enhanced fines and statutory damages would depend on whether the trademark authorities in China have the political will to grab the chance to fight piracy and infringement.

However, the crucial message to foreign companies and their counsel is that it is important for them to pad up their trademark portfolios. If foreign companies’ trademark portfolios are strong, then they can effectively fight infringement and would not need to be at the mercy of pirates and the narrowed standing for oppositions and invalidations.

The new Trademark Law apparently provides opportunities to obtain well-known mark status determination, which is another very useful tool to fight piracy and infringement, and foreign companies should consider grabbing the opportunities in this aspect.


Trademark Registration in Japan

 Patent Attorney:Hiroshi Oogai

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