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Blog

Changes Coming to Trademark Law & Practice in China

April 29, 2014

Blog

Changes Coming to Trademark Law & Practice in China

April 29, 2014

Back to Fish's Trademark and Copyright Blog

 

Amendments to the trademark law of the People’s Republic of China, which take effect May 1st, will bring about significant changes to how trademarks are registered and enforced in this rapidly growing market.  Trademark owners with an interest in China should be aware of these changes and should take a fresh look at their Chinese trademark portfolio to ensure that it is up to date.  Among the more significant changes are:

  • Electronic filing and multi-class applications will now be allowed, which will simplify the application process and (it is hoped) reduce costs somewhat.
  • The new law imposes time limits on the examination of trademark applications, which will significantly reduce pendency times.
  • New rules on standing are designed to reduce the filing of frivolous oppositions.
  • However, the new law eliminates the ability to appeal an adverse decision in an opposition, which is seen as a significant downside of the amendments.
  • In infringement litigation, the cap on statutory damages has been raised, and the familiar “likelihood of confusion” standard has been adopted.
  • The maximum statutory fines for infringement have also been raised.
  • There is a new requirement that all activities in connection with use and registration of trademarks must be conducted honestly and in good faith, although it remains to be seen how these concepts will be interpreted and enforced.

Overall, most of the coming changes are clearly favorable to brand owners.  Because China is both the world’s largest market and a frequent venue for counterfeiting and piracy, these changes are relevant to virtually every brand owner.

Related Tags

trademark
trademark registration
global

Blog Authors

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Robert M. O'Connell, Jr. | Of Counsel

Robert O’Connell is Of Counsel in the Boston office of Fish & Richardson. His practice focuses on trademark and copyright strategic advice, prosecution and enforcement, including all aspects of domestic and international trademark law; registration and...

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