Trevor Little

Late last week, the standing committee of the National People's Congress approved amendments to the Trademark Law of the People's Republic of China. The move is the latest development in the continued expansion of China’s IP landscape and this week sees the launch of a new guide tackling the protection and commercialisation of IP rights in this important jurisdiction.

The new amendments to the trademark law will come into force in May 2014 and include provisions related to non-traditional marks (with registration of sound marks to be permitted) and measures designed to prevent bad-faith applications by prohibiting representatives from squatting unregistered marks that are already in use and preventing agencies from accepting entrustment in instances where they know - or should have known - that the application was in bad faith.

Another significant change relates to legal damages in instances involving trademark infringement, with the ceiling for compensation raised to Rmb3,000,000 - a six-fold increase on the current limit. Commenting on the move, Hu Gang, trademark attorney at CCPIT Patent and Trademark Law Office, notes: “In current legal practice, it is a common concern that the cost of trademark infringement is much smaller compared with the cost of safeguarding trademark rights. Therefore, raising the upper limit of legal damages will impose a harsher strike upon trademark infringers.”

WTR will examine the practical implication of the changes for brand owners later this week, and issue 46 of WTR will feature in-depth analysis of the changes by Hu. However, the amendments mark the latest development in the continued expansion of China’s IP landscape. Reflecting this expansion and the requirement for rounded IP strategies for this dynamic, yet often challenging, jurisdiction, WTR and sister title Intellectual Asset Management are pleased to announce the launch of a new guide, China: Managing the IP Lifecycle.

The publication - available online here, with hard copies to be mailed to WTR subscribers - explores some of the key issues facing IP owners in China as they seek to secure, protect and commercialise their rights in the jurisdiction. The content spans both brand and patent management topics, to provide a big-picture view of the IP landscape in this increasingly vital market.

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