Top 5 Cases Picked by China’s Authorities as A Roadmap to its TRADEMARK System

 In Law Blog

Following my recent meetings in China, I came across something practical and useful.  China’s Trademark Appeal Board recently announced its Top 20 “Most Representative” cases.  They were selected from over 125,000 decisions the Board issued in 2016.  Twenty is a lot to digest; therefore, I’ve narrowed it down to five (based on relevance to the Western brands).  As everyone knows, China doesn’t usually offer interpretations of its law; its decisions are short, with little or no explanation.  These cases are therefore valuable roadmap giving directions on how to protect a brand in China.

Please respond YES and send me a connection request here if you want to receive the summary.  I will then ask for your email and send you The roadmap.

China’s Trademark Appeal Board (TRAB) issued over 125,000 decisions in 2016.  TRAB is the key authority in determining trademark rights in today’s biggest market; it is therefore critical to understand the exact criteria and guiding principle TRAB examiners have adopted to review & decide cases.  To that end, TRAB has chosen top 20 cases and shared them with the public in April 2017.  These cases are chosen because each illustrates how a specific trademark provision was interpreted and applied.  Although Chinese examiners and judges are NOT bound by precedents, we should consider these 20 cases as the GUIDING principles.  They are, after all, being chosen from over 125,000 decisions and are recognized BY THE AUTHORITIES as THE representative cases.

I have read through the entire list – it is indeed an excellent list.  It’s basically 20 bullet points; each is further divided into 3 parts: (1) basic factual background; (2) final decision; (3) interpretation of the law and why this particular case was decided this way.

It is an impressive list.  For example, it includes China’s recent effort in recognizing non-conventional trademarks such as a sound mark (an application for men’s coughing sound; App. No. 14502514); and discussion relating to hot topics such as the extent of protection for well-known trademarks (not surprisingly, another “NEW BALANCE” application).

However, 20 cases are a lot to digest.  Some are in fact more relevant to local Chinese companies as opposed to international companies doing business in China.  So, among these 20 cases, I’ve narrowed it down to five which are particularly relevant to Western companies and global brands.  If you would like to receive this summary, please respond YES and send me a connection request here.

The Top 20 “Most Representative” Cases were originally published here in Mandarin Chinese.

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We are a group of trademark attorneys with a combined 100 years of experience specializing in China.  The views shared on this website also include those from trademark authorities (who have held top positions from China’s trademark offices) as well as Western business executives (who have pioneered anti-counterfeiting programs throughout Asia).  Together, we have created the first China Trademark Blog.  We collect data, raw information, and statistics.  We then provide you with insights and analysis – in clear plain English – what they mean to your brands in China.


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