On 13 January 2023, the China National Intellectual Property Administration (“CNIPA”) published draft amendments to the PRC Trademark Law for public comment. This Draft marks the fifth time that the PRC Trademark Law is up for revision since its adoption in 1982. China’s trademark system has long suffered from large amounts of bad faith filings, from crushing amounts of applications and from a substantial portion of marks that are not used in commerce. These issues are seen to drain both the administration’s and genuine brand owners’ resources, and the 2019 version of the Law as well as the new Draft aim to tackle these issues head-on. The proposed changes focus mainly on three aspects, namely curbing bad faith filings, emphasizing the use requirement and reducing the enormous filing volume of trademark applications. The current 2019 version of the Law already made significant attempts to improve the legal framework, but is still considered to fall short in a number of these areas.
The Draft contains a number of important changes compared to the current version of the Law. The highlights of the new Draft are as follows:
There have been a number of substantial changes proposed by the Draft which reflect the determination and efforts of the CNIPA to resolve the issues in the current trademark system. It continues to be challenging to strike the right balance in curbing malicious filings, streamlining the procedure and protecting the interests of genuine trademark owners.
The Draft has now been submitted for comments from stakeholders and the public. The CNIPA has announced that the comment period will run through 27 February 2023. This offers all stakeholders an opportunity to voice support and/or suggest revisions to enhance the current Draft. Should you have further questions about the draft or should you require a full English translation please get in touch with our contacts listed here.
Authored by Helen Xia and Stefaan Meuwissen.
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