The Trademark Office of China (TMO) is a member state of the Nice Union and, as of January 1, 2014, has adopted the 2014 version of the 10th edition of the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks (Nice Classification). The changes will have significant impact on expanding and detailing Internet product and service trademark classification categories, including adding or moving: Continue reading
The State Council recently issued a draft of proposed Implementing Regulations to the Trademark Law, with a February 10 deadline for comments. (For recent changes to the law itself, see Major Revision of Trademark Law, Aug-Sept. China Bulletin). Two significant changes proposed in the draft regulations are a substantial reduction of the time afforded to file supplemental evidence and arguments, and clarification of when an infringer commits a repeat offense or ”serious circumstances” exist warranting heavier fines. Unfortunately, the draft regulations do not provide further guidelines to calculate the fines to aid local agencies in levying them. The same applies to a lack of clear criteria in the new law for courts to award increased compensation against infringers. Please click here for a detailed legal review of the proposed changes prepared by Joe Simone of the China IP boutique, SIPS.
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The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress passed extensive revisions to the Trademark Law (see Draft Trademark Law in the Nov.-Dec., 2013, China Bulletin), which take effect from May 1, 2014, including changes to articles on:
- civil damages, increasing the cap on statutory damages (remarkably) 6 times over its current level to RMB 3 million ($490,000), prioritizing damage calculation methods, and introducing punitive damages up to 3 times actual or statutory damages (as applicable) for malicious or “serious” infringement;
- enforcement, raising the administrative penalty limit from 3 up to 5 times illegal earnings, Continue reading
On December 28, the National People’s Congress issued the latest revised draft of the Trademark Law. Key provisions include expressly requiring that applications conform to principles of honesty and credibility, broadening the right to block bad faith applications by business associates, narrowing the definition of use to marks that distinguish the origin of the goods or services, limiting the right of the trademark owner to prohibit continuation of prior use, and limiting protection for well-known marks to ”copies, imitations or translations”. For a detailed legal review of the draft from the industry perspective by Joe Simone of SIPS, click here. Continue reading
According to a report by the U.S.-China Business Council, 95% of the companies in a recent survey are somewhat or very concerned about the enforcement of intellectual property rights in China. One challenge faced by foreign trademark and service mark owners comes from “squatters” who register in bad faith to occupy a mark while knowing another party already has or is likely to have an existing legitimate interest in it. Squatters’ goals range from profiting by selling the registration to the legitimate owner to facilitating sales of fakes or outright identity theft. Continue reading
After pending in draft form for 16 years, the Shanghai Municipal Measures for the Recognition and Protection of Famous Trademarks were released in February, 2012. They offer protection to Shanghai to local enterprises and individuals for marks that qualify for “famous” trademark status. Although not yet open to foreign trademark owners, foreign nationals with a residence permit in Shanghai and foreign invested companies (including wholly foreign-owned companies) in Shanghai can apply to qualify marks they own as famous trademarks. This local protection is not the same as well-known trademark status under the Trademark Law of the PRC at the national level. Continue reading