Jack Ellis

The State Administration of Industry and Commerce (SAIC) – the regulatory body that encompasses China’s national trademark office – announced some headline figures for 2016 yesterday. China continues to lead the world in trademark filings and year-to-year growth shows no sign of slowing down.

According to the Xinhua news agency, SAIC said it received close to 3.69 million trademark applications over the course of 2016, up from 2.88 million last year. This represents a greater number of filings than any other national office, and ensures that China maintains its top spot as the busiest jurisdiction in terms of trademark application volume.

The year-on-year growth rate in filings also continues to rise, with the last 12 months’ 28.4% increase outstripping 2015’s 26.9%. With just over three million – or 81.3% - of last year’s applications filed online, it would appear that the Chinese authorities’ efforts to encourage e-filing are succeeding.

In terms of registrations, the SAIC granted more that 2.12 million trademarks in 2016. All in all, this means that there are now around 12.4 million registered trademarks in force in China.

Below are the top 15 Chinese regions by applications submitted during 2016. As one would expect, trademark ownership is concentrated in the coastal economic powerhouses, as well as the capital. Please note that the SAIC data this is drawn from was published just before the end of last year, so there may be a discrepancy between these and any finalised figures.

Region

Administration

Applications

Registrations

Trademarks in force

Guangdong

Province

689,434

410,207

2,043,798

Beijing

Municipality

372,387

213,587

893,743

Zhejiang

Province

327,572

193,348

1,315,742

Shanghai

Municipality

257,616

158,380

697,251

Jiangsu

Province

209,900

125,314

743,670

Shandong

Province

184,490

109,047

592,018

Henan

Province

129,946

74,276

356,106

Sichuan

Province

126,300

73,986

392,055

Hebei

Province

96,475

55,139

291,122

Anhui

Province

88,042

47,643

239,666

Hunan

Province

87,800

52,348

257,429

Hubei

Province

79,095

47,821

238,734

Chongqing

Municipality

67,024

45,777

240,519

Hong Kong

Special administrative region

65,837

65,743

329,482

Liaoning

Province

59,860

36,150

211,146


To raise awareness of the role that brands play in China, it was also announced that a trademark festival will be held in September. Wang Peizhang, secretary-general of the China Trademark Association, confirmed it would focus on trademarks and brands in the Belt and Road Initiative. China is now in its 15th year of being the world’s leader in trademark applications, so there is much to celebrate in that respect. The next step, perhaps, is ensuring applicants in China know how to effectively protect and enforce the trademarks they obtain.

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