State Administration for Industry and Commerce of the People's Republic of China (SAIC) recently released “SAIC’s Opinions on Promoting Reform of Simplifying Trademark Registration”, declaring that application for trademark registration will be available online and in local departments. Starting from next year, online application will open to all applicants instead of only being accessible to TM agencies, and the scope of application, which was limited to TM registration only, will gradually extends to TM renewal, assignment, cancellation and modification.

Make things easier for applicants by introducing more ways of TM application

1. Entrust TM application filing to local authorities

CTO will authorize local industry and commerce departments and market regulation departments to set up TM filing offices in local government affairs hall or registration hall, and handle issues like TM registration on its behalf. Pilot programs have been launched in Ya’an in Sichuan and Taizhou in Zhejiang, with more to come depending on their performance.

2. Setting up TM examination support centers outside Beijing.

CTO will plan and launch TM examination pilot programs outside Beijing according to the economic status and TM application amounts of local governments. The support centers will be authorized by CTO to handle TM examinations. The pilot programs will start from 2016, and will increase in number according to how well they go and the amount of cases needed to be handled.

3. Setting up TM pledge registration filing offices in local government.

CTO will sum up experience from the TM pledge financing and provide service guidance to the 26 newly established TM pledge registration filing offices. Similar offices will be established across the country from 2017.

4. Promoting online application.

Online application will be open to all applicants instead of only being accessible to TM agencies. The scope of online application, which was limited to TM registration only, will gradually extends to TM renewal, assignment, cancellation and modification. As of 2017, applicants could file TM registration application online, at the local TM filing office or at the registration hall of the China Trademark Office.

Provide applicants with high quality service through simplifying and optimizing the TM registration process

5. Simplify the TM registration process.

Reduce the receiving time of notice of acceptance from 6 months to 3 months, through readjustment of inner work flow. Partially simplify the TM registration materials and procedures. Remove the trademark application format and shorten the trademark notices. Open examination highway for after-registration services.

6. Change the ways of issuing certificates of TM registration.

Promote information sharing and checking between departments. Related departments and units could use TM data base to check TM registration status. For cases when written certificates of CTO are needed to confirm the registration status of trademarks, the CTO could just seal the printed TM documents with a special stamp, and Trademark Registration Certificate is no longer needed. In terms of shortening the handling time, applicants who apply at the TM registration hall will get service on site; applicants who apply through mailing will get their service done and notices sent out by the CTO in 5 working days. However, the issuing of certificates of international TM registered through Madrid Agreement will stay unchanged.

7. Promote E-operation throughout the entire process of TM registration

Change the delivering of TM notices and promote e-certificates of TM registration and e-delivery. Open TM data and instruct local commerce and industry, as well as market registration departments to strengthen trademark supervision by using TM data. Set up inner office platform and social service platform and improve the user experience of the trademark service website. Promote the speed and upgrade of online search, application and noticing systems.

8. Improve the service quality of TM registration hall.

Improve the service quality of the TM registration hall, promote communication and improve TM consulting service quality. Properly guide applicants by publishing list of available TM service and preliminary examination standards of TM application. 

Perfect trademark examination mechanism and improve efficiency of trademark examination

9. Improve trademark examination scheme so as to raise efficiency

Partially authorize trademark examination to other departments and outsource all auxiliary work.

10. Promote sole-examiner examination.

CTO will practice sole-examiner examination for international TM registration and TM opposition. The proportion of sole-examiner examination of TM examination support centers has increased to over 70% in 2016. 

11. Properly allocate examination manpower.

12. Improve quality management and supervision scheme. Set up a quality control system covering TM examination and TM appraisal. Properly determine the percentage of sampling inspection.

13. Improve the payment scheme of examination fees.

Change the current calculation and payment methods. Adopt the prepayment mechanism and create incentive mechanism for examination work.