World Trademark Review 1000 2021

The World’s Leading Trademark Professionals - a unique guide that identifies the top trademark professionals in key jurisdictions around the globe. The WTR 1000 focuses exclusively on trademark practice and has firmly established itself as the definitive ‘go-to’ resource for those seeking world-class legal trademark expertise.

China and SARs: China: Domestic

This year has been a busy one for China. It kicked off with the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic that led to lockdowns in multiple cities, although the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) quickly resumed service windows on 3 February and encouraged online services. By June, the number of...

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This year has been a busy one for China. It kicked off with the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic that led to lockdowns in multiple cities, although the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) quickly resumed service windows on 3 February and encouraged online services. By June, the number of filed trademarks had increased by 25% compared to the same period in 2019, bringing the total number of valid trademarks in the country to over 27 million. Unsurprisingly, some of the most prolific filers during the first six months of 2020 came from the healthcare industry, especially since the CNIPA launched a fast-track process to streamline applications for new business projects and those related to restarting work and production. Nonetheless, the top corporate filers of 2019 were from the tech sector, namely Huawei (which is also the country’s top Madrid filer), Tencent and Alibaba. As well as keeping a watchful eye on bad-faith trademark filings – the CNIPA remains determined to curb illegal IP activity in the IP profession and swiftly doles out punishment to malicious filers – the Chinese government is committed towards improving the local IP landscape and protecting foreign IP rights. For instance, the Supreme People’s Court ruled in favour of Under Armour, a landmark decision that defied the general trend and signals that such outcomes could become more common. It also invalidated two logo marks in a significant victory for New Balance. Over in Shandong Province, the geographical indication collective trademark BORDEAUX was successfully enforced in a civil lawsuit. The authorities are talking a good game too, with the State Administration for Market Regulation issuing its 2020 IP Rights Enforcement Action Plan in April 2020, while the Beijing Higher People’s Court published new guidelines for assessing damages in IP cases. In an effort to keep up with the newfound popularity of livestream e-commerce – particularly as a new avenue to sell counterfeit and replica goods – the authorities are addressing legal gaps and introducing regulations to this area. However, counterfeiting remains a serious problem, with the launch of new Chinese shipping agents, such as Sugargoo, targeting Western buyers of counterfeit goods. On the global front, despite the ongoing US-China trade war, the United States remains the top foreign destination for trademark and Madrid applicants from China. The USPTO also saw, for the first time ever, Chinese filings overtake domestic US filings. The EUIPO is witnessing a similar trend – by September 2020, Chinese companies had surpassed their German counterparts to become the number one source of EU trademark applications, a 150% increase compared to 2019.

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