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China is one of the fastest-recovering countries from the pandemic – it has made a stellar economic comeback post-covid-19. The economic rebound is partly driven by the vast domestic online retail sector, from which a wide array of brand protection and anti-counterfeiting issues have arisen. It results in burgeoning trademark registration and IP rights-related lawsuits in China, with the China National IP Administration receiving more than 9.45 million applications in 2020. Further, the number of IP litigations in the same year tripled the figure of four years ago. Traditional e-commerce platforms and the rising livestream advertising are now being monitored closely when conducting infringement and counterfeiting investigations. The upward trajectory in the trademark area is fuelled by the growing awareness among IP owners and the enhancement of the IP legislation. Another trend witnessed by local practitioners is the rising number of geographical indications (GI) approved in the country. In the first half of 2021 alone, the China National IP Administration (CNIPA) determined 87 new GI-protected products and accepted the registration of 254 GIs as collective marks. With the article published by President Xi Jinping outlining the country’s intention to continue strengthening IP protection for brand owners and the subsequent IP Judicial Protection Plan 2021–2025 drafted by the Supreme People’s Court, the country is in a good position to bolster the judicial protection afforded to trademarks and GIs and continues to push out IP-related policies and proposals at a steady rate.
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