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China to Improve Trademark Law to Curb Abnormal Filing2019-02-13

China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) released the Several Measures on Regulating Trademark Filing for Registration (Draft Open to Comments) on its website on February 12, inviting comments from the general public. The deadline for sending comments is March 14, 2019.

In the context of streamlining of trademark registration procedure, contraction of registration pendency, reduction of registration cost and lessening of available registration sources, malicious registration for free riding on better-known brands happens from time to time; hoarding trademark registrations for reselling them for profit rather than for actual use is rampant. The above acts of abnormal trademark filing for registration severely corrupt market order, trademark regulation order and environment for doing business, raising eyebrows in all walks of life. This elevates serious attention of CNIPA, who aims to shape a long-term mechanism to curb such acts by improving the trademark legal system through findings in legislations. Aiming to attack the problem in the short run, CNIPA drafts this agency-level Measures to govern and guide trademark filing acts by borrowing the preexisting concepts handling abnormal patent filings.

There are eight articles in the announced Draft, which reiterates the principle of good faith and the directive of registration for use (both established by the Trademark Law), specifies types of acts of abnormal trademark filing for registration and their legal ramifications, provides specific measures in regulating such acts, and defines duties of competent IP authorities at various levels in directing and regulating acts of trademark filing for registration and use.

Under the Draft, while the Trademark Law and its Implementing Regulations shall be invoked to address such acts, punitive measures may be imposed per the gravity of the acts. For example, if such acts result in gaining funding, support and award by fraud, provided serious enough to pass the criminal threshold, criminal prosecution will ensue. Those trademark agencies aiding such acts will also be penalized.   

The general public may make their opinions heard via email, fax or letter mail to CNIPA's legal affairs department.

Source: China IP News

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