Trademark Law Revision in China: analysis of the new provisions

On 23 April 2019 the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress issued the fourth revision of the Trademark Law, which came into force on November 1st. This has attracted much attention from the international IP community as it addresses the issue of bad-faith registrations – one of the most significant challenges to protecting international brands in China.

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The new law provides that bad-faith applications made with no intent to use will be rejected. In addition, the absence of requisite intent to use is now included as grounds for opposition and invalidation proceedings.

Moreover, the law allows for a higher amount of damages that can be claimed for trademark infringement; likewise, the highest amount of statutory damages was increased from RMB 3 million to RMB 5 million in an attempt to deter infringements.

The revision also establishes new guidelines for the Trial of Cases on Trademark Authorisation and Affirmation, as well as new articles on the legal liability of applicants of bad-faith application without intent to use.

For the full analysis on the recent revision, read the full article by Charles Feng at Lexology.

WIPO Launches New Publication Series; China is First Contributor

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The World Intellectual Property Organization has published the first edition in a new publication series collecting landmark intellectual property (IP) judgments from some of the most dynamic litigation jurisdictions around the world.

The “WIPO Collection of Leading Judgments on Intellectual Property” series aims to illustrate IP adjudication approaches and trends, by jurisdiction or theme in each volume.

The first title is a joint publication with the Supreme People’s Court (SPC) of the People’s Republic of China. It features 30 representative judgments rendered by the SPC between 2011 and 2018, presented in both Chinese and English. These decisions, selected by the SPC, exemplify recent judicial adjudication in the areas of copyright, trademarks, patents, trade secrets, new plant varieties, integrated circuit layout designs, monopoly and competition, and criminal enforcement of IP rights.

The publication is part of WIPO’s efforts in the area of the judicial administration of IP, led by the WIPO Judicial Institute, to engage judges from around the world as they share experiences on the common challenges they face and discuss new subject matters and concepts.

Continue reading on the WIPO’s website.

Baby products brand Beaba sues copycats for using ‘BEABA’ logo on baby diapers

Beaba, a famous baby products brand, recently filed before the Hangzhou Internet Court a civil action for copyright infringement and unfair competition action against four defendants for their unlawful use of Beaba’s special-designed logo “BEABA” on the latter’s baby diaper products.

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In said action, Beaba claims that it has been producing baby feeding and baby food preparation products since its establishment in 1989 in France, and had entered the Chinese market since 2010. Since its establishment, Beaba has originally created and has used the special-designed logo “BEABA” on their baby products, and therefore enjoys the copyright over the same. Meanwhile, Beaba’s special-designed logo “BEABA” and its enterprise name “Beaba” has gained a high degree of popularity and reputation.

Beaba claims that, without their authorization, four Chinese companies have sold baby diaper products bearing the “BEABA” logo.

Given this, Beaba filed an action for copyright infringement and unfair competition before the Hangzhou Internet Court alleging that, the defendants’ unauthorized use of the “BEABA” logo which is identical or highly similar to Beaba’s logo on baby diaper has infringed Beaba’s copyright. Moreover, as Beaba’s enterprise name “Beaba” has gained a high degree of popularity and reputation, such enterprise name should be protected under Article 6 of the Unfair Competition Law, and the defendants’ use of the characters “BEABA” may mislead the public, thereby amounting to unfair competition in accordance with Article 6 of the Unfair Competition Law. Beaba likewise demands that the defendants cease and desist from their infringing activity and to pay RMB 3 million in damages. Continue reading “Baby products brand Beaba sues copycats for using ‘BEABA’ logo on baby diapers” »

OEM Manufacturing and Trademark Infringement in China

“Made in China 2025” policy forced Supreme People’s Court to Change Direction on OEM Manufacturing Exception to Trademark Infringement

Introduction

For years Western companies have relied on Chinese factories to manufacture their products at low cost and export them back to other markets to be sold with high margin of profit. This is normally referred to as OEM manufacturing, where OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer. This was for decades the main business model for China’s industrial and economic development and it earned China the nickname of “World’s Factory”. In recent years, things have changed. China is now a market with hundreds of millions of consumers buying foreign products online or traveling and shopping abroad, while cheap manufacturing is moving elsewhere to be replaced by High-Tech businesses. In this evolving socio-economic landscape, OEM manufacturing has lost its prior standing in the government policies. China is now projected towards a further integration of its economy into the global capital system. Aside from the already renown “Belt & Road” initiative, China has recently launched “Made in China 2025”, a new grand plan to showcase China’s own brands and industries to the world and move away from being the world’s “factory” to an economy producing higher value products and services.

This policy change embodied in the “Made in China 2025” program, is also reflected in the recent legal developments concerning the relation between OEM manufacturing and trademark infringement. This article will explore the evolution of such relation and will comment on the most recent leading decision on this topic issued by the Supreme People’s Court this October 2019.

Continue reading “OEM Manufacturing and Trademark Infringement in China” »

Update of Geographical Indications Protection in China

This is the PPT by Guizeng (Wayne) Liu, as a speaker of the panel, CSA25 Geographical Indications around the World at the 141st INTA Annual Meeting in Boston, USA, May 18-22, 2019. Moderator: James Tumbridge, United Kingdom, and Speakers, Guizeng (Wayne) Liu, China; Shawna Morris, USA; Andrew Papadopoulos, South Africa; Elio De Tulio, Italy and Julian Vadillo, Mexico.

In China, GIs bear significance to advance the social economy development, promote trade and investment and protect cultural heritage.

Registration and Administration of GI as Certification Mark and/or Collective Mark by China Trademark Office (CTMO) under China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) of the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR)The Accumulative number of filings of trademarks is over 36.7 million, the number of registrations is over 24.1 millions, and effective number of existing registrations is nearly 21.2 millions. Almost every 5.3 entities in the market own one registered trademark.

Continue reading “Update of Geographical Indications Protection in China” »