In follow up to an notice issued in February 2020 by the Chinese Trademark Office forbidding registration of coronavirus-related trademarks, the Market Supervision and Administration Bureau of Yuhua District, Shijiazhuang City recently imposed fines totaling 50,000 RMB on Hebei Trademark Office Co., Ltd. and related persons for attempting to do just that. These fines follow fines imposed in other jurisdictions earlier this year including a 100,000 RMB fine on Beijing Yijie Shunda International Intellectual Property Agency Co., Ltd. and an undisclosed fine on Alibaba in Beijing.
According to 知识产权界, the fines were for attempting to register 火神山 ( Vulcan Mountain) and 雷神山 ( Thor Mountain) as trademarks, which were the names of two front line hospitals in Wuhan treating patients infected with the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19 disease. The applications were filed on February 17, 2020 and withdrawn in March after warnings by the Bureau.
The trademark agency was fined 30,000 RMB while individuals were fined the balance for violating Article 19, paragraph 3 of the Chinese Trademark Law, which reads, “Where a trademark agency knows or should know that the trademark applied for registration by the client belongs to the circumstances stipulated in Articles 4, 15 and 32 of this Law, it shall not accept its entrustment.” All were also given warnings.