Earlier this year, the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) released a draft proposing amendments to the PRC Trademark Law. The purpose of this publication was to allow the public to read and comment on the draft before its finalization. If implemented, these amendments would mark the fifth revision to the PRC Trademark Law, following previous amendments in 1993, 2001, 2013, and the most recent one in 2019.
While the amendments are not yet official, we have summarized several significant updates based on the current draft:
Tackling “bad faith” applications The proposed amendment takes a stricter stance towards “bad faith” applications. Article 22 gives detailed definitions on what would constitute as bad faith, something that isn’t available in the current PRC Trademark Law. Bad faith applications, as stipulated in said Article include:
a. Applying for a large number of trademark registrations without the intent of use
b. Applying with deceptive or other improper means;
c. Applying for trademarks that are harmful to national interests or social interests
d. Violating the provisions of Articles 18 [prohibiting the copy, imitation or translation of a well-known trademark], 19 [restricting agents or representatives from registering trademarks of the principal or represented person in their own name without authorization], and 23 [restricting pre–emptive registration of a trademark that already has a certain level of influence] of this Law, deliberately damaging the legal rights or interests of others or seeking illegitimate interests; or
e. Applications in other malicious ways. The amendments also details administrative punishment. As stipulated in Article 67, applicants of bad faith filings will be issued a warning or fined of less than RMB 50,000. For more serious offences, the fine can be up to a maximum amount of RMB 250,000. Furthermore, parties which suffer losses from the bad faith filings may file civil actions and are entitled to compensations, as stipulated in Article 83. Read more