China’s trademark law: Evicting the squatters

Today’s blog post has been kindly drafted for us by Ms. Marie Ferey and Mr. Fabio Giacopello from HFG Law & Intellectual Property. Ms. Ferey and Mr. Giacopello use several high-profile case studies to discuss how companies can fight against trade mark squatters in China. 

Several high-profile cases show that trademark owners in China can succeed in removing squatters. Marie Ferey and Fabio Giacopello of HFG report.

When it was introduced the new Chinese Trademark Law (TML) didn’t seem tough enough against trademark squatting, but after three years of implementation we have found that the TML has many resources and provisions that can be used to stop malicious trademarks.

‘Face book’

On January 24, 2011, an individual called Hongqun Liu filed an application for registering ‘face book’ as a trademark before the Chinese Trademark Office (CTMO). It designated “vegetable canned food, potato chips” in class 29, “coffee beverage, tea beverage and candy” in class 30, and “fruit juice (beverage), iced (beverage), vegetable juice (beverage)” in class 32. The trademarks were preliminarily approved by the CTMO.

Social media platform Facebook later undertook legal action in order to invalidate the trademarks and succeeded at the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate Court. According to article 44 of China’s TML, the court stated: “If improper means are found in the examination stage of a trademark application, it is detrimental to restrain such means by cancellation of a registered trademark instead of rejecting the registration at the approval stage.”

In this case, Facebook succeeded in proving that Liu had filed multiple applications for ‘face book’ trademarks in many different classes. Besides, Liu has also registered reproductions and imitations of others trademarks with high reputation. Continue reading “China’s trademark law: Evicting the squatters” »