China Announces Special Action Plan to Combat Trademark Squatting

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On March 24, 2021, the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) issued a Notice announcing the Special Action Plan for Combating Malicious Trademark Squatting (打击商标恶意抢注行为专项行动方案).  The goal of the plan is to “promote high-quality intellectual property rights and help create a good environment for innovation and business” explained CNIPA. The plan focuses on combating malicious registration/squatting trademarks for famous or newly famous names, places, events, and marks and identifies 10 prohibited behaviors.

Article 2 of the Notice specifies the behaviors that CNIPA will focus cracking down on:

(1) maliciously squatting the names of national or regional strategies, major activities, major policies, major projects and major scientific and technological projects;

(2) maliciously squatting words and signs related to major natural disasters, major accidental disasters, major public health incidents, social security incidents and other public emergencies, and damaging the public interests;

(3) maliciously squatting major tournaments, major exhibition names and signs with relatively high popularity;

(4) maliciously squatting names of administrative divisions, names of mountain and river, names of scenic spots, names of buildings, etc.;

(5) maliciously squatting the general name, trade terminology or other public commercial resources of commodities or services;

(6) maliciously squatting the names of public figures, famous works or character names with relatively high popularity;

(7) maliciously squatting any trademark or other commercial mark which has a relatively high popularity or strong distinctiveness and damaging the prior rights and interests of others;

(8) Obviously violating the prohibited circumstance as prescribed in Article 10 of the Trademark Law or any other circumstance in violation of public order and good customs, and causing any significant negative or negative social impact on the political, economic, cultural, religious, ethnic and other public interests and public order of China;

(9) The trademark agency knows or should have known that its client is engaged in the aforesaid acts, but still accepts the client’s entrustment or disturbs the order of trademark agency by any other improper means; and 

(10) Other circumstances that obviously violate the principle of good faith.

The plan will be implemented in three phases:

  1. Mobilization and Deployment: By March 30, 2021, local Intellectual Property offices will collect evidence and report to the Trademark Office of CNIPA.
  2. Organization and Implementation: From April to October 2021, local IP Offices and CNIPA will investigate and issue administrative penalties according to the law (up to 100,000 RMB fine per Article 53 of the Trademark Law).
  3. Summary: In November and December 2021. Local IP Offices will report the results of Phase 2 to CNIPA, which will summarize them.

The full text is available here (Chinese only).

Author: Aaron Wininger

Aaron Wininger is a Senior Attorney and Director of China Intellectual Property at Schwegman Lundberg & Woessner.

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Author: Aaron Wininger

Aaron Wininger is a Senior Attorney and Director of China Intellectual Property at Schwegman Lundberg & Woessner.