Registrability requirements for media marks relaxed

On February 17 2009 the State Administration of Industry and Commerce of China (SAIC) issued a notice on the registrability of certain marks relating to “newspapers, periodicals, magazines (periodical) and news publications” in Class 16 of the Nice Classification.
Article 10 of the Trademark Law prohibits, subject to certain exceptions, the registration of a mark which, among other things, is:
  • identical or similar to the name of the state of China;
  • identical to the name of a specific location or building where the central administration of China is situated; or
  • identical to the name of a Chinese administrative district or region above county level.
Many publications in China include such names in their titles. Such use has been approved by the General Administration of Press and Publication, but conflicts have arisen with trademark law.
However, the SAIC's notice introduced further exceptions to the law. The aforementioned names may be registered as a trademark in respect of “newspapers, periodicals, magazines (periodical) and news publications” in Class 16 provided that the applicant can submit a copy of the document approving the publication.
Howard Tsang and Lilian Shi, Wilkinson & Grist, Beijing and Hong Kong

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