There have been significant developments on the IP scene in the Middle Kingdom. In November 2016 the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China released overarching guidelines as part of the government’s greater level of commitment to IP protection. In response to this, the courts have increased compensation levels in IP cases, and as a result awards below Rmb1 million are becoming less common; the Supreme Court has also taken significant steps to combat the prevalence of bad-faith registrations. On the administrative side, official fees have been slashed by 50% and a new trademark examination office has been opened in Guangzhou, alongside 13 new trademark registration service offices across the country. Intriguingly, recent high-profile lawsuits such as Qiaodan and Fei Chen Wu Rao have garnered plenty of coverage on social media platforms, illustrating the extent to which trademark disputes have entered the public consciousness. In the service provider market, brand owners and foreign law firms now face a potentially bewildering array of options in China. There is extensive competition on price but discerning brand owners are first and foremost concerned with quality; the WTR 1000 lists firms that are able to deliver in this regard and are, therefore, most cost-effective in the long run.
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