Trade Marks in China: Q&A for the International Comparative Legal Guide to Trade Marks 2017

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For any EU SME operating in China, Trade Marks will be an important IP asset to have. So in order to meet any questions you might have, our China IPR SME Helpdesk expert Mr. Charles Feng from East & Concord Partners based in Beijing has kindly drafted for us a very useful and informative blog post on Trade Mark Protection in China. In this comprehensive Trade Mark guide, our Q&A with Mr. Feng will give you all the answers you need on Trade Mark protection in China. 

1          Relevant Authorities and Legislation

1.1       What is the relevant trade mark authority in your jurisdiction?

The Trademark Office (“TMO”), which is affiliated with the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, is the authorised government agency in charge of trademark administration including examinations of trademark applications, oppositions as well as the cancellation of trademark registrations for three years of non-use.  The Trademark Review and Adjudication Board (“TRAB”) oversees the examination of various applications for appeals against the TMO’s decisions, as well as trademark invalidation matters.

In addition, local Administrations for Industry and Commerce (“AICs”) or Market Supervision Administrations (“MSAs”) are in charge of the administrative enforcement of trademark rights.

People’s Courts have jurisdiction over trials for trademark-related administrative or civil litigation.

1.2       What is the relevant trade mark legislation in your jurisdiction?

The most fundamental legislations include the Trademark Law of the People’s Republic of China (“PRC Trademark Law”), the Implementing Regulations of the PRC Trademark Law as well as multiple Judicial Interpretations related to trademark law which are issued by the Supreme People’s Court.

In addition, the Anti-Unfair Competition Law of PRC provides protection to unregistered marks such as distinctive names, packaging or decoration of famous goods.  The criminal code provides protection against counterfeiting activities where the illegal turnover exceeds a certain amount.

Continue reading “Trade Marks in China: Q&A for the International Comparative Legal Guide to Trade Marks 2017” »

How to Identify and Deal with IP Scams in China: Threat from Third Party Scam

SCAMIn recent years, European SMEs have received more and more IP scam e-mails  warning them that someone else is wishing to register their trade mark in China and that urgent action is needed. Some SMEs have also fallen victim to these e-mails and have ended up losing quite substantial amounts of money. Therefore, in today’s blog post, we have chosen to discuss how to identify and deal with IP scams in China. The blog post will concentrate on one of the most popular e-mail  scam – ‘threat from the third party scam’. 

With more and more European SMEs having awareness of the importance of IP and the necessity of IP registration in China, their needs of IP services is increasingly growing. As stated in China’s IP laws, foreigners need to hire local Chinese agencies to file for registration of IP rights and attend to other trade mark or patent related matters such as prosecution, invalidation, renewal etc. Therefore, there is a vast market for IP services involving foreign businesses which in turn is attracting more and more local IP businesses to join this lucrative market.

However, the quality and level of services offered by practitioners differ significantly. Coupled with the lack of sufficient translation of key information on obtaining IP rights and registration procedures, this made it very easy for some agencies, lacking in professional ethics to devise various scams to trick foreign companies or use irresponsible methods to attract customers. Thus it is very important that the European SMEs would be able to distinguish IP scams and know where to find the correct information on IP services and what action can be taken to avoid or mitigate scams. Continue reading “How to Identify and Deal with IP Scams in China: Threat from Third Party Scam” »

IP Protection for the Tourism Industry in Malaysia

tourism in MalaysiaThe first warm days of the fast-approaching spring bring along with them the desire to travel and discover new places. Many European SMEs are also  thinking about setting up their own businesses within the tourism industry in South-East Asia and particularly in Malaysia, where the tourism industry is rapidly growing. In today’s blog post we are, therefore, taking a closer look at IP protection in  the tourism industry, focusing on brand protection – the cornerstone of IP protection in the tourism industry- and the protection of internet domain names.  

Underpinned by Malaysian government’s dedication of making tourism the cornerstone of its long-term economic planning, the tourism sector is booming in Malaysia. This year, the tourism sector is expected to bring in more than EUR 22 billion, which signifies an increase of nearly 70% on 2012 levels.[1] As the government is expected to further augment tourism-related funds in coming years, plenty of business opportunities will arise for the European SMEs in Malaysian tourism sector.

SMEs engaged in tourism need to pay special attention to protecting their intellectual property (IP) rights, because IP infringements are still relatively common in Malaysia. IP rights are a key factor for business success and neglecting to register them in Malaysia could easily end SMEs’ business endeavor in the country. Thus, a robust IPR strategy is needed, when entering the lucrative market of Malaysia.  Continue reading “IP Protection for the Tourism Industry in Malaysia” »

Registering New Top Level Domain Names in China

shutterstock_167099189E-commerce is rapidly growing in China with Chinese consumers already making up for almost half of global online retail sales. This development offers lots of lucrative business opportunities for European SMEs. When entering Chinese market, a Chinese top level domain name often helps to attract customers. In today’s blog post we therefore focus again on top level domain names’ registration in China. 

Internet usage is booming in China. With more than 701 million ‘netizens’ (as of December  2016), China connects more people to the Internet than any other country. In fact, every fourth person on the Internet is from China. Facilitated by the increasing availability of broadband technology and the growing trend towards online shopping and purchasing, the Internet is an attractive business and marketing platform for many European SMEs. The China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) has also now removed barriers to overseas companies and individuals to register domain names in China, and it is recommended that European SMEs take advantage of this if they are planning on entering the Chinese market or are already in China.

New and Less Restricted Domain Name Requirements

From May 2012, .cn and .中国 domain name registrations became available again for private individual registrations (both Chinese and overseas). The process takes a few weeks and currently costs €50-€100.

The following steps are required:

  • Translate your domain names into Chinese and find an accredited registrar using either of these sources (domain name registration must be completed through an accredited registrar).

Continue reading “Registering New Top Level Domain Names in China” »

How to Remove Counterfeit Goods from E-Commerce Sites in China

Online IPR ProtectionAs more and more European SMEs embrace the popular e-commerce concept in China, they are also confronted with online counterfeiting problems. Today’s blog post discusses how European SMEs can monitor online selling sites and how they can start the notice and take down process to remove counterfeits from the most famous Chinese online e-commerce sites like Taobao and Alibaba. 

China: Counterfeit goods and the internet

The internet has become a popular and easy channel for product distribution around the world. It has created a marketplace of more than half a billion users in China, more than a third of the world’s total online population, and is still expanding. Apart from being a forum for legitimate vendors and original products, the internet is also used by illegal and unscrupulous businesses as a platform for the distribution of counterfeit goods which infringe intellectual property rights (IPR).

As the internet provides a convenient platform for counterfeits, we recommend that every European SME (especially those with successful products) should monitor Chinese e-commerce sites for infringing products. By moving quickly you will be able to have infringing products removed from sale and preserve your market share. Although some companies find that internet monitoring is time consuming but you may find yourself at high risk if you sell your product on the Chinese market, manufacture your product in China or even if you have a popular product on sale in Europe. Continue reading “How to Remove Counterfeit Goods from E-Commerce Sites in China” »