Since 18 February 2020, applicants have been able to request fast-tracked examination of trademark applications for goods and services related to coronavirus (Covid-19) epidemic prevention and treatment.
To date, requests for accelerated examination have been filed for 19 applications in relationto epidemic prevention and treatment. Based on the latest trademark journal no. 1686, dated 3 March 2020, we have noted that examination of CN trademark no. 44081612, filed in Class 05 for hand sanitiser, disinfectants and fungicides, concluded just three weeks from its application date.
Crackdown on malicious epidemic-related trademark applications
The National Intellectual Property Administration has recently issued a number of notices on the back of examination of marks that have arisen due to the coronavirus outbreak. In particular, they have released examination guidelines to address malicious filing of marks containing the names of people involved in the epidemic, marks related to the epidemic virus and disease, marks related to epidemic-related drugs, marks for protective and preventive products, and other marks related to the epidemic.
Applications of marks containing “火神山”and “雷神山”, which are associated with Huoshenshan Hospital (火神山医院) and Leishenshan Hospital (雷神山医院), will be rejected unless they have come from the respective hospitals themselves, as they are considered at risk of being misused and have potential to stigmatise and negatively impact society. Huoshenshan Hospital and Leishenshan Hospital are emergency specialty field hospitals in Wuhan specifically built in response to the COVID-19 outbreak and have received both nation-wide and international attention for their efforts in combating the disease. Similarly, applications of marks containing “李文亮”, the Chinese ophthalmologist who issued an early warning of the COVID-19 virus and has since succumbed to the same virus, will be rejected.
As of 4 March 2020, more than 1,500 coronavirus-related trademarks have been filed in China, including 37 applications containing, or closely associated with, the Chinese opthalmologist “李文亮” in over 10 classes, and 51 applications related tothe hospitals “火神山”and “雷神山”, which have all been rejected.