On August 30, 2013,the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress(NPC) adopted the amendment to the Chinese Trademark Law through three readings at fourth meeting of the Standing Committee of NPC. This law will go into effect on May 1, 2014

The main points of the amendment are as follows:

  1. Sound can be registered as trademark

The amended Trademark Law adds the sound into an object of protection of a trademark.

  1. Improvement of trademark application procedure

Under the existing Trademark Law, if any applicant intends to apply for registration of a trademark for goods in different classes, the applicant should respectively file trademark applications in accordance with the prescribed classification of goods.

According to the amended Trademark Law, if any applicant wants to apply for registration of a trademark for goods in different classes, the applicant may file one trademark application for registration covering goods in different classes. The trademark registration applications can be filed by other electronic means of data transmission.

  1. Improvement of opposition procedure of trademark

The existing Trademark Law provides that any person may, within three months from the date of publication, file to oppose a trademark application that has been published after a preliminary examination and approval.

In the amended Trademark Law, an opponent to file an opposition based on relative grounds for rejection is limited to a prior right holder or an interested party, and any person may file the opposition on the basis of absolute grounds for rejection. Specifically, as stated in Article 33 of the amended Trademark Law, where a prior right holder or an interested party considers that an accepted application for registration of a trademark is not in conformity with the provisions of Article 13, paragraph 2 and 3, Article 15, Article 16, paragraph 1, Article 30, 31 or 32, or where any person considers that an accepted application for registration of a trademark is not in conformity with Article 10, 11 or 12, it or he may file an opposition with the Trademark Office against the said accepted application.

If dissatisfied with the decision on the opposition, the opposed may apply for review to the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board (TRAB), but the opponent may not apply for review to TRAB. After the Trademark Office approved the registration of the opposed trade mark, the opponent may ask TRAB to declare the trademark invalid.

  1. Invalidation procedure of registered trademark

An invalidation procedure of the registered trademark is introduced in the amended Trademark Law. It provides that if a registered trademark violates the provisions of Article 10, 11 or 12 of this law, or the registration of a trademark has been acquired by fraud or any other unfair means, the Trademark Office shall declare the registered trademark invalid; and any other organization or individual may request TRAB to declare the registered trademark invalid.

  1. Well-known trademark protection

According to the amended Trademark Law, a well-known trademark, based on the parties’ request, can be defined when the facts in each case dealing with the relevant trademark support such a conclusion. A producer or operator shall not use the words “Well-known Trademark” on its goods, packaging, or container, or in its advertising, exhibitions or other commercial activities.

  1. Strengthening protection of trademark right

The amended Trademark Law provides that the act to deliberately provide convenient conditions for infringing the exclusive rights to use the trademark of the other person or to help others carry out the infringement of the exclusive right of the trademark belongs to the act of the infringement on the exclusive right to use a registered trademark.

This law prohibits that a registered trademark or an unregistered Well-known trademark of the other person is used as a shop name in an enterprise name.

The statutory maximum amount of compensation for infringement of a registered trademark is raised to 3 million RMB yuan (484,000USD), six times the current maximum amount of compensation.