2017 CHRONICLE OF CHINA'S TRADEMARK INDUSTRY

By China IP,[Trademark]

SECOND BATCH OF TRADEMARK REGISTRATION WINDOWS
The second batch of windows for accepting trademark registration applications set up by SAIC became fully operational on 1 March. Allowing applicants to handle trademark matters locally will facilitate mass entrepreneurship and innovation. After a set of interim rules on authorising local administrations for industry and commerce and market regulatory departments to accept trademark registration applications took effect on 1 September 2016, the Trademark Office set up 15 windows for accepting trademark registration applications based on the principle of facilitation and taking into account factors such as regional distribution and the volume of applications to be handled. Together with the 41 approved this time, there are now 56 windows for accepting trademark registration applications across the country.
CHINA'S NEW TRADEMARK REGISTRATION INFORMATION INQUIRY SYSTEM
According to the requirements of Opinions of the SAIC on Vigorously Promoting Facilitation Reform of Trademark Registration, the new edition trademark registration information inquiry system started a pilot run on May 5, 2017, in order to improve the service level of China's trademark website and promote the speed upgrade of the inquiry system. The users can visit the website for trademark information inquiry and from May 5 on, the old edition website has been unavailable.
OPINIONS ON DEEPLY IMPLEMENTING TRADEMARK & BRAND STRATEGY AND PROMOTING CHINESE BRANDS BUILDING
On May 22, SAIC published Opinions on Deeply Implementing Trademark & Brand Strategy and Promoting Chinese Brands Building (Opinions), developing the trademark strategy into the trademark and brand strategy. SAIC will thoroughly implement Trademark and Brand Strategy, making "Chinese manufactured" to be "Chinese brand", and promoting China to be a brand powerful country.
 
NEW STANDARDS OF TRADEMARK REVIEW AND TRIAL
On January 4, 2017, Trademark Office of released the revised Standards of Trademark Review and Trial (New Standards). The New Standards covers 10 parts, including review of marks which can not be identified as trademarks, review of the significant characteristics of trademarks etc. The standards of sound trademark review, the application standards of trial submission and other content has been added in the revised New Standards.
 
NEW EDITION OF TRADEMARK ONLINE SERVICE SYSTEM
On March 10, the new edition of trademark application system was issued, enabling the first access to the application service of trademark registration. According to the requirements of Opinions of the SAIC on Vigorously Promoting Reform of Facilitating Trademark Registration, the scope of accepting online trademark application by the system has been expanded to trademark agencies, domestic applicants and foreigners or foreign enterprises owning regular residence or service office in China, rather than only trademark agencies; the service scope of the system covers not only application of trademark registration, but also renewal, transfer etc. of trademark.
 
THE TRADEMARK REGISTRATION FEE HALVED FROM APRIL
In order to effectively promote the development of the real economy, under the approval of the State Council, the Ministry of Finance, and the National Development and Reform Commission released a notice about sorting out and standardizing the relevant policies of administrative fees. According to the notice that from April 1, 2017, the charge of new varieties of plant protection, and computer software copyright registration fees are suspended, and the trademark registration fee is reduced by half.
 
ELECTRONIC BULLETIN SYSTEM FOR TRADEMARK
Trademark Office has always been an active promoter to the implementation of electronic bulletin system for trademark. On November 6, 2017, the office made its first electronic bulletin via website this month (total the 1574th) stating that the launch of electronic bulletin system for trademark has been successfully completed. The launch of this new system will significantly shorten waiting period for appliers to publish their trademark, enlarge the capacity for bulletin publication. The electronic bulletin project for trademark plays a vital role in carrying out State Council's "Pipes Suit Reform" and the reform of facilitating the registration procedure for trademark.
 
OPINIONS ON FURTHER PROMOTING THE REFORM OF FACILITATING REGISTRATION FOR TRADEMARK
On November 17, Trademark Office released Opinions on Deepening the Reform of Facilitating Registration for Trademark to Improve Processing Efficiency of The State Administration for Industry and Commerce of the P.R.C. and put the Opinions on its website. The Opinions include the following contents: at the end of 2017, the time of issuing acceptance notifications for those applying registration for trademark will be reduced from 3 months to 2 months, the examination period for trademark registration will be cut down from 9 months to 8 months. On the above basis, it will achieve following targets: at the first half of 2018, it will further reduce the time for issuing notifications by releasing acceptance notifications for trademark registration via Internet and enabling those who applied to print the notifications directly from the Internet.
 
BAN ON USE OF FAMOUS NAMES AS TRADEMARKS
  On January 11, The Supreme People's Court (SPC) said in the document that the names of politicians, celebrities, religious leaders and other public figures cannot be registered as trademarks by other entities. It specified the circumstances in which a trademark could be approved, noting that a major element for consideration in any ruling should be whether a "negative effect" on public interest and social order would be caused. To better inform courts at all levels across the country what could be regarded as causing a "negative effect", the court highlighted five cases from recent years to be used as precedents for future rulings.
JUDICIAL INTERPRETATION OF TRADEMARK AUTHORIZATION CONFIRMATION
On January 11, SPC issued Provisions of the Supreme People's Court on Several Issues concerning the Trial of Administrative Cases Involving Trademark Authorization and Confirmation (Authorization and Confirmation Provisions) and carried out it on March 1. There are totally 31 items including substantial contents such as examination field, obvious features judgement, famous trademark protection and procedure contents such as anti-legal procedure. It also regulates important problems of administrative cases of trademark authorization confirmation and difficult issues of trial practice. The Supreme People's Court follows features of trademark authorization and confirmation cases, fully plays examination function of judicature and improves efficiency of trademark authorization confirmation.
 
IP JUDICIAL PROTECTION CONDITION OF CHINA COURTS
IP Judicial Protection Condition of China Courts in 2016 issued by the Supreme People's Court on April 24, 2017 has shown that local people's courts at all levels have received a total of 8,352 IP criminal cases of first instance in 2016, a decrease of 23.9% compared to the previous year; 8,601 IP criminal cases of first-instance were concluded, a decrease of 20.43%; Tao Kaiyuan, vice president of the Supreme People's Court, said that the court handled a large number of IP cases in an impartial and efficient manner, which had prevented and cracked down on all types of IP infringements behaviors, effectively safeguarding the legitimate rights and interests of right holders and creating a fair market economy order.
 
CHERY INTENDS TO RESIST THE REGISTRATION OF MERCEDES- BENZ EQ TRADEMARK 
On March 22, Chery has officially submitted the objection of the registration of Mercedes-Benz EQ trademark to the Trademark Office of State Administration for Industry and Commerce. The ground is that this trademark approximates the registered "Chery eQ" trademark, which seriously infringes the priority right of Chery, as well as breaks the relevant provisions of the Trademark Law of the People's Republic of China and the Anti-Unfair Competition Law of the People's Republic of China; hence, it should not be approved for registration.
 
THE FIRST CHINESE BRANDS DAY: HUAWEI RANKS NO. 1
 Approved by the State Council, May 10 was established as Chinese Brands Day since 2017, indicating that the emphasis on brand has risen formally from the corporate level to the national level in China and that "playing a leading role of brand" has risen to an unprecedented level. On May 9, Sina Finance, Sina Technology and Weibo jointly released the result of the selection of "well-known Chinese brands of Chinese netizens". It shows that Huawei ranked first with 421,240 votes. Haier and Moutai ranked second and third respectively. Chinese brands represented by Huawei are accelerating their steps, showing their strength in world's big arena, and gradually making more voices in the global market. "Made in China" is making a transition to "Made with Wisdom".
 
GUANGZHOU PHARMACEUTICAL GROUP AND JIADUOBAO CO-ENJOY RIGHT OF CANNED HERBAL TEA DRINK WONG LO KAT
On August 16, the Supreme People's Court of P.R.C. publicly pronounced the judgment on the appealed case of Guangdong Jiaduobao Drink & Food Co., Ltd. (Jiaduobao Company) v. Guangzhou Wong Lo Kat Health Industry Co., Ltd. (Wong Lo Kat Company) and the appealed case of Guangdong Jiaduobao Drink & Food Co., Ltd. v. Guangzhou Pharmaceutical Group Co., Ltd. (Guangzhou Pharmaceutical Group) concerning the unauthorized use of special package and decoration of well-known goods. The Court ruled in its final judgment that both Guangzhou Pharmaceutical Group and Jiaoduobao Company have made important contributions to the formation of the rights and interests to the package and decoration of the "canned herbal tea drink Wong Lo Kat" involved in the case; that both parties may co-enjoy such rights and interests under the condition that they cause no damage to the legal rights and interests of the other party.
 
DISPUTES CONCERNING CHINESE TRADEMARK OF RED BULL EVOLVE WITH COMPLICATED STATUS
Since more than a year, over 10 lawsuits have confronted each other. More than 20 years after the founding family was intertwined with Reignwood, China Red Bull gradually vibrated from the outreach to the core area, and the silence was quickly broken by the lawsuits. Various vendors selling Red Bull beverages have also been involved. There are nearly 20 companies having been affected and some of which have successively switched between plaintiffs and defendants in various lawsuits. In July 2017, ORG Packaging Co., Ltd. a listed company producing Red Bull packaging cans, said that the plaintiff, T.C. Pharmaceutical Industries Co., Ltd. had requested that ORG Packaging Co., Ltd. should immediately stop forging and arbitrarily manufacturing the graphic logos and trademarks of the plaintiff's "Red Bull", "REDBULL", etc. The application recently has been submitted to the court and the case is now being suspended.
 
TWO CHINESE ENTERPRISES ARGUES FOR THE TRADEMARK OF "MONA LISA"
On September 19, The Supreme People's Court held a public trial over the case that Guangdong MONALISA New Construction Material Group Corporation Limited sued Guangzhou MONALISA Construction Materials Co., Ltd. and Foshan Beijiasi Sanitary Ware Co., Ltd. for infringing the former's trademark of "Mona Lisa". In terms of the phenomenon that Chinese enterprises registered trademark for the world famous artwork "Mona Lisa", some professionals suggest that there is a risk in the trademark registration of "foreign names"; instead of this, a more appropriate way is to build the enterprise's own brand by choosing a more characteristic identification as its trademark. The involved parties are still fighting for their trademarks.
MANY CATEGORIES WITHIN XIAOMI'S TRADEMARK REGISTRATIONS CONTAIN THE CHARACTER OF "MI" 
According to the trademark inquiries, Beijing Xiaomi Science and Technology Co. Ltd almost registered all the daily words with the character of "Mi". The daily words include "rice grain" and "rice noodle" etc. After the proposal of "Mi" family concept, Miui also applied the registration including "our family" etc. Among them, there are 323 pieces of No. 9 scientific instrument trademarks, followed by 173 pieces of No. 42 web service trademarks, 160 pieces of No. 38 communications service trademarks, and 151 pieces of No. 35 advertisement sale trademarks.
 
LEHUI TIANXIA INFRINGING THE TRADEMARK RIGHT OF ONE PIECE TO PAY RMB 30 MILLION COMPENSATION
On July 12, Beijing Administration for Industry and Commerce (BAIC) releases a part of trademark infringement cases. Among them, some mobile games infringing the trademark right of One Piece, which became the first major case of infringement punishment in the internet industry. Beijing Lehui Tianxia Technology Co., Ltd. provided the download path to "Pocket One Piece", "Arcade One Piece" without authorization, taking advantage of 360 Mobile Assistant, "Wandoujia" and other mobile software operation platform. Haidian Office of the Beijing Administration for Industry and Commerce ordered the involved party to pay RMB 29.37 million yuan
CHATEAU MOUTON ROTHSCHILD FINALLY WINS IN ITS 7-YEAR TRADEMARK BATTLE
Baron Philippede Rothschild SA which owns the Chateau Mouton Rothschild has fought for its trademark right for 7 years against Shanghai Painti Wine Co., Ltd. (Shanghai Painti) which registered a trademark of “穆桐” (with the same pronunciation of Mouton's Chinese name) used on its imported wine product. On September, the Supreme People's Court made the final judgment that Shanghai Painti's appeal be rejected and the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board of State Administration For Industry and Commerce of the PRC should cancel the approval of the N0. 6685751 trademark- “穆桐 ”and re-adjudicate this trademark.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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