Regulations on Printing Trademarks revised

China

The State Administration for Industry and Commerce has revised the 1996 version of the Regulations on Printing Trademarks, in view of the changes made to the Chinese Trademark Law 2002 and its Implementing Regulations. Companies that are engaged by others to print materials bearing trademarks (such as packaging and instruction manuals) now have to comply with the provisions in the revised regulations.

The new regulations have abolished the previous requirement that a printing company had to apply for an approval certificate before it was allowed to print for others any materials bearing their trademarks. However, printing companies are still generally regulated by the Regulations for the Administration of the Printing Industry.

The new rules retain the requirement that a printing company that is engaged to print materials bearing trademarks must first verify the identity of its customers as well as their rights in those trademarks. Customers are required to produce to printing companies their business registration certificates and also their trademark registration certificates or licence agreements if they are licensed to use the trademarks. Printing companies are required to check those documents to ensure that the trademarks shown on the materials to be printed are identical to those shown on the registration certificates, and that their customers are the owners of or have the right to use those trademarks. Printing companies must keep a copy of the documents for at least two years.

Failure to comply with the requirements under the revised regulations may attract penalties and may possibly constitute an infringement under the Trademark Law and its Implementing Regulations.

Most importantly, under the revised regulations, a printing company may be held criminally liable if its activities constitute a crime, although how this provision will actually apply remains to be seen.

The revised regulations came into force on September 1 2004.

Philip Tsang, Lloyd Wise & Co, Hong Kong

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