Trademark enhancements on the way

Updated: 2014-04-25 21:33


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China's industry and commerce authority is currently drafting new regulations in line with the new trademark law, which is set to take effect on May 1, an official said on Friday.

A set of new regulations governing the registration of trademarks, including one guiding the protection of renowned trademarks and another on the registration of audio trademarks, could be unveiled before the enacting of the new law, Liu Junchen, deputy chief of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, said in a news conference on Friday.

The new trademark law will enable individuals and business entities to register unique and familiar tunes — such as Windows' start-up music and Nokia's preset ringtones — as audio trademarks.

However, Xu Ruibiao, chief of the authority's trademark office, said that only tunes that have been widely used could be registered as trademarks.

Liu said the new trademark law will further quicken the pace of trademark registration and spur the authority to intensify its trademark protection efforts.

The new law clarifies that the trademark registration authorities must provide a preliminary examination within nine months after a trademark registration request is submitted, which is much shorter than the current registration period.

The new law also offers protection for renowned trademarks, giving owners the right to ban others from registering their trademarks or using similar ones, even if such brand names are not registered. But the words "renowned trademark" will not be used in promotions or advertising.

He Xunban, chief with the trademark appeal council of the authority, said the number of trademark appeals the authority received has increased from 183 cases in 1983 to 83,000 cases in 2013.

"The large number of appeals has put unprecedented pressure on us. Some of our staffs are working day and night to handle the appeals," he said.

China held the world's largest number of registered trademarks (8.65 million) and valid trademark registrations (7.23 million) as of the end of last year.

Liu said the authority will move to clear more than 1.5 million registered, yet invalid, trademarks.

Under the law, if a trademark is not used three year after registration, it will be cancelled.