August 30, 2013
China: substantial amendments to the trademark law

Substantial amendments to the Chinese Trademark Law were adopted on August 30, 2013 and will take effect on May 1, 2014. The amendments are aimed to modernize and simplify the trademark prosecution in China, which holds the world’s largest number of registered trademarks (8.17 million as of June 2013).

The main changes introduced by these amendments are the following:

-       Multiple class trademark applications are allowed

-       Introduction of trademark application electronic filings

-       Registration of sound mark is allowed

-       Better protection for well-known marks, among others, giving their owners the right to prevent others
        from registering their trademarks or using similar marks

-       The period for initial examination of trademark applications is limited to 9 months (presently 18 months or even longer)

-       The period for the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board to review refusals (appeal) is limited to 9 months

-       The period for reviewing oppositions is limited to 12 months

-       Regulation of trademark agencies activities, for example, obligation to inform the clients in case the trademark
        they wish to file cannot be registered according to relevant laws and rules

-       Obligation to file trademark applications in good faith, for example, prohibition to register a trademark for an applicant
        who is aware of the prior use of the mark following contractual, business or other relationship

-       Maximum statutory damages have been increased from CNY 500,000 (approx. US$ 80,000 or € 60,000) to
        CNY 3,000,000 (approx. US$ 500,000 or € 360,000), for trademark infringements where
        no actual evidence of damages has been provided