China’s new trademark law: one month in, five things we know

By Horace Lam

China’s newly amended trademark law has been in effect for about a month now. Has the new law made things better? Here are some of our early observations.

With the new trademark law, the China Trademark Office (CTMO) requires filing of original powers of attorney and trademark application forms. Accompanying these documents and also required are documents proving the valid existence of the applicant company, such as a company incorporation certificate (a copy of the certificate suffices). This requirement to file original papers with the CTMO extends beyond new applications to include oppositions and non-use cancellations filed with the CTMO. At this time, the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board (TRAB) has not adopted the same practice and continues to accept copied documents such as powers of attorney and review submissions. It is not clear if these practices (for both the CTMO and TRAB) will change.

The new trademark law provides for e-filing, but in reality e-filing is not yet an option for foreign companies. The CTMO is only accepting e-filings from domestic Chinese companies at this stage. More importantly, the system only accepts standard goods items. One wonders how useful the e-filing mechanism is in reality…

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