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China New Trademark Law Released

By: Desiree P. (Oct 01, 2013)

After three reviews over the past two years, a revised Trademark Law was approved last week by China's top legislative body. It will take effect on May 1 next year.

The new law will better serve to "crack down on infringements and ensure a fair market for Chinese and foreign trademark holders", Xinhua News Agency reported.

Guangming Daily quoted Wang Qing, an official with the Legal Affairs Commission at the National People's Congress Standing Committee, saying the amendment embodies three key words - convenience, fairness and severity.

The revised law will for the first time set time limits on trademark application procedures. The initial review period should last no more than nine months. If objections are raised, examinations should be finished in 12 months.

Li Shunde, an intellectual property professor with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Procuratorial Daily that registering a trademark has been "like running the marathon".

The review period currently lasts 30 months on average, but can stretch to seven or eight years, he said.

"Time limits in the new law provide a legal basis to build an efficient trademark registration mechanism," said Wang.

The new law continues to offer protection for well-known trademarks, but the title will no longer be allowed on product packages, advertising or promotions.

Following its 1985 membership in the Paris Convention on the Protection of Industrial Property, China established a well-known trademark system to protect brands.

But many industry insiders say the process does not function as it was originally designed.

Many companies now regard a well-known trademark as an honorary title to promote their products, possibly misleading consumers.

A recent comment by the Beijing News noted that a number of companies perpetrate fraud and create disputes to apply for the status, "making the identification nearly lose its value".

Zhao Hu, an intellectual property rights lawyer and partner in Beijing's EastBright Law Firm, told China Daily in an earlier interview that the identification as a well-known trademark should be "a legal process to settle disputes, which is based on factual evidence in individual cases".

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