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China’s National Intellectual Property Administration Issues Notice on Continuing to Severely Crack Down on Malicious Registration of Trademarks

On April 12, 2022, China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) issued the “Notice of the CNIPA on Continuing to Severely Crack Down on Malicious Registration of Trademarks” (国家知识产权局关于持续严厉打击商标恶意注册行为的通知). Among the highlights of the Notice include the listing of 10 illegal behaviors to be cracked down on and the elimination of awards or subsidies for trademark applications (including Madrid applications).  This follows earlier crackdowns such as the cancellation of maliciously registered Olympic-related trademarks ex officio in February.

Per the Notice, CNIPA states they will

focus on cracking down on the following typical illegal acts that violate the principle of good faith, violate public order and good customs, seek illegitimate interests, and disrupt the order of trademark registration:

(1) Malicious cybersquatting with the same or similar marks as important Party meetings, important theories, scientific assertions, political discourses, etc.;
(2) Malicious squatting with the same or similar marks as national strategies, national policies, major projects, major scientific and technological projects, important events with high popularity, important exhibitions, and major archaeological discoveries;
(3) Maliciously squatting marks specific to major sensitive events or emergencies such as major public health events;
(4) maliciously squatting the names of political, economic, cultural, ethnic, religious and other public figures with high reputation;
(5) The number of trademark registration applications obviously exceeds the needs of normal business activities, and there is no real intention to use;
(6) Copying, imitating, or plagiarizing a large number of trademarks or other commercial marks with a certain reputation or strong distinctiveness by multiple subjects;
(7) A large number of applications for registration of the same or similar marks including public cultural resources, administrative division names, common names of goods or services, industry terms, etc.;
(8) Transferring a large number of trademarks and the assignees are relatively scattered, disrupting the order of trademark registration;
(9) The trademark agency knows or should know that the client is engaged in the above-mentioned acts, but still accepts the entrustment or disrupts the order of trademark agency by other improper means;
(10) Others that have a significant negative or negative impact on my country’s trademark registration management order, social public interests and public order.

Regarding subsidies and other incentives for trademark filings, CNIPA states,

All local intellectual property management departments should put an end to the number of trademarks as the main basis for work assessment. The application for trademark registration (including the Madrid international registration of trademarks) shall not be supported in any form such as funding or awards. According to the actual situation in various places, formulate a timetable for the cancellation of subsidy and reward policies, strictly implement and incorporate into the assessment. 

The full text of the Notice is available here (Chinese only).

Principal, and Director of China Intellectual Property Practice

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