Remarkable Results in the Facilitation of Trademark Registration

Meteor Tang, China IP,[Patent]

In recent years, relevant trademark management departments of local government have significantly improved their professional ability, enhanced their sense of service, and initiated door-to-door guidance and service, reducing enterprises' burden in the application and registration of trademarks.
The number of trademark applications in China has increased rapidly, which result in large demand for trademark registration and the change of registration. In order to solve the problems of single trademark application channel and low examination efficiency, since 2016, the Trademark Office has gradually reformed the trademark examination system, broadened the channels for trademark application, and promoted the electronization of trademark registration, reduced the trademark business fees and so on.
The Trademark Office has built five new trademark examination cooperation centers in Guangzhou, Shanghai, Chongqing, Jinan and Zhengzhou, effectively expanding the examination process, and extending the functions of the Trademark Office in serving the local economy, carrying out on-site acceptance of registered trademark applications, consultation, examination of trademark registration applications, and promotion and consultation services on trademark laws and regulations.
The reform is in full swing, yet are the efforts moving towards the set goals? What are the innovations of each trademark examination cooperation center? China IP reporter visited the Trademark Examination Cooperation Jinan Center and the Trademark Examination Cooperation Shanghai Center and witnessed the operations of two centers that located at the North and South of China.
Trademark examination: Cooperation Jinan Center
1. Trademark examination: quantity and quality
Trademark Examination Cooperation Jinan Center was established on Sept 7, 2018.
In recent years, Shandong Provincial Market Regulatory Bureau has focused on the construction and operation of Trademark Examination Cooperation Jinan Center, speeding up the reform of the facilitation of trademark registration, and service support for the construction of trademark brands in the province. Trademark branding strategy is integrated into the key work deployment of the provincial party committee and provincial government to promote the rural revitalization and other key work.
According to Gao Zhaoyang of the Shandong Provincial Market Supervision Administration, the number of trademark applications and registrations in the province has increased rapidly since the facilitation of trademark registration was accelerated. CNIPA has set up trademark registration application acceptance services in Jinan, Qingdao, Jining, Linyi, Dongying, and set up trademark exclusive right application acceptance services in Taian and Dongying. Since the beginning of 2019, Shandong Province has handled more than 8,600 trademark applications. To speed up the supervision and development of trademark service agencies, there are 2,680 agencies in the province to provide more convenient and professional advice and services for trademark registration. Up to now, Shandong Province has 1.143 million valid registered trademarks,
3.75 times as many as of 2012; and 7,951 registered trademarks through Madrid Protocol, 11.3 times more than 2012, which ranks first in China.
The rapid growth of trademark application and registration in the province is inseparable from the help of Trademark Examination Cooperation Jinan Center. Since its establishment, Jinan Center has taken deepening the facilitation of trademark registration as the goal, taking the "year of quality improvement for trademark examination" as an opportunity to strengthen the construction of examination capacity and the construction of quality control system. As of Oct 13, 2019, Jinan Center has accepted a total of 4,109 new applications for trademark registration and follow-up applications, 1,041,539 cases of classification of formal examination, and 978,788 cases of substantive examination. In addition, Jinan Center has completed 15,647 cases of substantive examination of territorial extension, 15,062 follow-ups for international registration, 1,346 examinations for international registration, and 4,481 cases of document translations.
The number of examinations is increasing, and the quality of examinations should also follow suit. At the beginning of 2019, according to the amount of work assigned by the Trademark Office, combined with the professional capacity of the examiners, the Jinan Center has formulated detailed monthly and quarterly plans for the entrusted business of formal examination, substantive examination, and Madrid international registration. The Jinan Center set the work quota reasonably, break down the examination task one by one to each department and examiner, adhere to the simultaneous development of quality and efficiency, take the workload, the withdrawal rate, and the mistakes of random examination as the main measurement indicators, constantly strengthen the management and training of examiners, and timely open the upper limit of workload for experts and outstanding examiners in the examination business, ensuring both the efficiency and quality of the examination.
The Jinan Center is the only one among all the trademark examination cooperation centers to maintain no major quality errors (level III errors) in China. In the joint sampling inspection organized by the Trademark Office, Jinan Center remains the lowest error rate of quality problems in level I and II.
2. Talent training: ability and attainment
Knowing that talents are the source of vitality for the continuous development of the trademark cause, Jinan Center attaches great importance to talent training, takes improving the comprehensive ability and quality of the examiners as the guide, continuously strengthens the intensity of education and training, and enhances the pertinence and effectiveness of training, continues to improve the professional ability and comprehensive attainment of employees. In March, 2019, according to the mobility of examiners and the talent echelon training plan, the Jinan Center promptly recruited 33 auxiliary examiners to enrich their posts, and at the same time launched the selection and training of the first batch of clerks in June. After four months of comprehensive selection and evaluation, a total of 40 outstanding examiners were evaluated as clerks, and officially carried out the work of documents signing after being confirmed by the Trademark Office on Aug 28.
The Jinan Center has organized and carried out more than 30 special training sessions in 2019 for all kinds of business, adopting the method of combining "invite in" and "go out", inviting leaders and experts from institutions or universities such as CNIPA, the Trademark Office and the Central University of Finance and Economics to hold training courses on trademark examination. At the same time, the Jinan Center has also sent staff to Beijing and Shanghai Centers to study and learn, broadening their horizons and raising their level.
During the visit, China IP also experienced the process of examiners' substantive examination. After the database retrieval, each trademark citation has to be opened and compared one by one, some complex graphic elements have tens of thousands of prior similar trademarks. An examiner joked: "the workload of a month depends on luck." But in fact, every trademark is a new beginning, and every examiner is taking it seriously.
3. Economic engine: benefit and reputation
In recent years, Shandong Province has actively supported all kinds of market subjects to strengthen the identification and protection of well-known trademarks, and achieved new breakthroughs in the use of trademark brands.
Up to now, a total of 775 well-known trademarks have been identified by administration in the province, which has laid the foundation for the establishment and protection of well-known brands. Shandong Province continues to organize and carry out trademark brand demonstration and identification activities, confirmed Haier, Jiuyang, Zhangqiu Green Onion and other 43 enterprises as models. In addition, the province actively recommends local enterprises to participate in the China Trademark Gold Award so far, 8 enterprises have won the award. The distribution of Shandong trademark brands in the region and industry is more balanced, a number of well-known trademarks with Shandong characteristics and famous in domestic and foreign markets, has played an important role in promoting the economic transformation and upgrading of the province, and improving quality and increasing efficiency.
Geographical indication trademark is an essential support for agricultural industrialization and branding, and plays a more important role in poverty alleviation and the construction of a new socialist countryside.
To this end, Shandong Province has made great efforts to implement the project of helping the poor, invigorating agriculture and enriching the people by geographical indications, launches in-depth excavation of local products and historical resources at the grass-roots level to actively apply for geographical indication trademarks. The total amount of geographical indication trademarks in Shandong has ranked first in the country for many years in a row, involving more than 180 agricultural products and a number of handicrafts with local characteristics. After years of popularization, and standardized management, a number of regional brands and industries, such as Zhangqiu Green Onion, Jiaozhou cabbage, Zibo ceramics, Yantai apple, Rizhao green tea, Pingyi honeysuckle and Zhanhua winter jujube, has bloomed. It has not only inherited and carried forward the traditional culture of Shandong, but also further increased farmers' income, agricultural efficiency and rural development.
In order to promote the financing of intellectual property pledge, and help small and medium-sized enterprises solve the problem of financing difficulties, Shandong Province formulated and promulgated the Detailed Rules For the Administration of the Use of Risk Compensation Funds for Intellectual Property Pledge Financing in March, bringing trademark pledge into the scope of risk compensation, enhancing the enthusiasm of all kinds of market subjects to use registered trademark pledge financing to solve difficulties, and actively exploring market operation modes of trademark exclusive right to capitalize value, pledge financing, transfer license and so on. To pledge patent right with the mode of "government, bank, and insurance" is regarded as a typical experience in the construction of a strong intellectual property province, which is popularized by CNIPA to the whole country, forming an intellectual property financial service model with value evaluation, guarantee, and insurance. According to statistics, 24 enterprises in the province have registered 555 trademarks through pledging, realizing the financing needs of more than 5 billion Yuan.
Whether the reform of trademark facilitation is effective, the enterprises has the most say. The person in charge of Shandong Deshi Petroleum Engineering Group told China IP that in recent years, the professional ability of the trademark management of local governments has significantly improved, and their sense of service has enhanced, taking the initiative to conduct door-to-door guidance and services so that enterprises' burden in the application and registration of trademarks is greatly reduced. In particular, with the establishment of the trademark exclusive right application acceptance services and the Trademark Examination Cooperation Jinan Center, the costs and time of trademark registration in the surrounding areas have been greatly reduced. Furthermore, it greatly reduces the time of product launch, improves the competitive efficiency of enterprises, and enables enterprises to make rapid efforts, win competitive advantage and obtain more benefits and convenience.
On the future development direction of Jinan Center, Xu Yunluo, director of the Center, said that it will aim at enhancing the value of high-end brands, open up ideas, and take optimization measures to promote the integration of intellectual property rights such as trademarks with economic and social development.
Trademark Examination Cooperation Shanghai Center
On Sept 29, 2017, the Trademark Examination Cooperation Shanghai Center settled in Xuhui District.
Over the past two years, the Shanghai Center has played a positive role in serving trademark applicants, promoting trademark examination, improving quality and efficiency, and serving local economic development.
1. Dare to be the first: achieved a number of breakthroughs
According to Lin Haihan, director of the Shanghai Center, in the past two years, the Shanghai Center has achieved a number of breakthroughs. In September 2017, the Shanghai Trademark History Museum set forth, which was the first museum to display the history of trademark management. At the beginning of 2018, the first Madrid trademark center outside of Beijing on the international registration application and territorial extension substantive examination, were carried out in the Shanghai Center. Since then, the business scope of the Shanghai Center has continued to expand, and gradually realized the full coverage of all international businesses. In October 2018, the first trademark protection office in China was unveiled in Shanghai Center, which opened the way for domestic enterprises to protect trademarks abroad. In September, 2019, after active preparation and planning by the Shanghai Center, China's first trademark circuit examination court held a smooth hearing in Shanghai. Speaking of this, Lin Haihan's face is brimming with pride.
After the establishment of Shanghai Trademark Protection Office, it continues to establish trademark protection information platform, and timely releases trademark infringement warning, legal news, rights protection cases and other information, to provide enterprises with online information database. The Shanghai Trademark Protection Office has also brought together 14 professional intellectual property service agencies such as the Trademark Examination Cooperation Shanghai Center and the Shanghai Trademark Association, setting up a team of experts to provide a platform for safeguarding rights resources for enterprises in need, to assess the harm of infringement, and to formulate a feasible plan for safeguarding rights.
The head of legal affairs of Jinjiang International Group told China IP that enterprises often encounter problems such as local protectionism in the process of "going out," which hinders the process of opening up the international market. The Shanghai Trademark Protection Office happens to provide a platform for enterprises to safeguard their rights, through expert consultation, rapid channels to provide information for the process of internationalization of enterprises.
The Shanghai Center takes the efficiency and quality of trademark examination as the focus of fine management, and has successively introduced 9 business systems and 17 internal management systems, and continuously improved the relevant systems.
Lin Haihan recalled that at the beginning of 2018, when he received the 1.2 million annual trademark substantive examination tasks issued by the Trademark Office, the Shanghai Center was established for only five months. Many difficulties were placed in front of him: lack of employees, brand new team, lack of system, heavy tasks, and tight funds– an impossible task. Yet with hard work of all the staff of the Center, it finally completed the examination tasks two days ahead of schedule. In the same year, the Shanghai Center also made an outstanding contribution to significantly shortening the cycle of Madrid trademark international examination, successfully reducing the period of territorial extension examination to seven months.
Up to now, the Shanghai Center has accepted a total of 23,000 domestic trademark applications, 33 Madrid international registrations and 39,000 business consultations, and the collection of fees has exceeded 10.39 million Yuan. 2.012 million categories of substantive examination of domestic trademarks, 142,000 categories of territorial extension substantive examination of Madrid trademarks, 135,000 categories of international formal examination, and 50,280 international follow-up examinations were completed.
2. Trademark publicity: cultural soft power
"Please go visit Shanghai Trademark History Museum," almost everyone who comes to the Shanghai Center will hear this. From Maochang Optical, to Seagull Camera, from Hengyuanxiang to White Rabbit, the Museum takes the historical evolution of Shanghai's trademark development and management as the theme, showcasing the historical footprints and brilliant achievements of the trademark evolution in the process of Shanghai's economic development and prosperity.
Since 2007, the Museum has begun to collect materials and organize the display outline for 10 years, and compiled a picture album "Shanghai Trademark History Museum". On Sept 29, 2017, with the establishment of the Shanghai Center, the Museum was officially opened to the public.
Since 2018, the Shanghai Center has actively carried out exchanges and publicity activities, with trademark culture and intellectual property protection publicity activities as the focus of the promotion of popular science. In order to improve the effect of publicity and education, the Shanghai Center has specially produced promotional videos, and participated in multi-level publicity activities to continuously raise public awareness of trademark culture and intellectual property protection. During the first China International Import Expo, the Shanghai Center also provided intellectual property related consulting services such as trademark registration applications for exhibitors all over the world.
In order to give full play to the advantages of the venue and trademark cultural resources, the Shanghai Center also attaches importance to cooperate with local universities, primary and secondary schools, and has reached a preliminary intention of cooperation with a number of universities to actively explore and practice the joint construction of science popularization and education cites.
Service: covering the Yangtze River Delta
"We provide services not only for trademark applicants in Shanghai, but also those in Zhejiang, Jiangsu and other Yangtze River Delta regions." Lin Haihan said.
In November 2018, the Fengxian Trademark Acceptance Window, China's first pilot trademark acceptance window to share high-quality resources of the local trademark examination cooperation center, was officially launched. Subsequently, it was extended to the Administrative Service Hall of Shanghai Market Regulatory Administration and the Administrative Service Hall of Hongqiao Business District. The Yiwu Liaison Department, the first inter-provincial and municipal liaison department for the international registration of Madrid trademarks, has also been set up in Shanghai Center.
In August, the "Yiwu model" was successfully copied, and the Shanghai Market Regulatory Bureau and Ningbo Market Regulatory Bureau signed the Shanghai-Ningbo Integration Promotion of the Trademark Brand internationalization Strategic Cooperation Agreement. It is not only a milestone in the realization of cross-regional development and cooperation between Zhejiang Province and Shanghai, but also a substantive step in deepening cooperation and exchanges in the field of trademark brands.
Will the establishment of the Shanghai Center affect the business volume of trademark agencies? The head of Shanghai Zhongbei Intellectual Property Agency said that the establishment of the Shanghai center did not cause losses of business volume to the company, but promoted the transformation and upgrading of agencies from front-end consulting to back-end services. The centers provide applicants with basic explanation, which is more authoritative and reliable. After applicants have recognized the importance of the trademark and obtained their rights, agencies will take over and promote the practical application of trademarks, giving its commercial value full play. "It is a benign and interactive process that makes the trademark registration process more hierarchical and the system gradually sound, which is conducive to guiding the orderly growth of trademarks in China."
Lin Haihan told China IP that in the next step, the Trademark Examination Cooperation Shanghai Center will continue to take the "Fengxian and Yiwu model" as the example, strengthen the standardization of services, and form the service system of trademark registration facilitation, covering Shanghai and the Yangtze River Delta.
"In the future, the Shanghai Center will actively strive to establish a permanent trademark trial court in Shanghai, carry out rapid trademark examination business, and promote the construction of a new area of the Shanghai Free Trade Zone, contribute more to optimize the business environment and promote the integration of the market system in the Yangtze River Delta region. " Lin Haihan is confident in the future development of the Shanghai Center.

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