The 3rd draft amendment (the latest) to the PRC Trademark Law ("the 3rd Draft Amendments") was released for public comments (deadline is Jan 31, 2013) on December 28, 2013. The NPC’s Standing Committee is expected to pursue two or three readings of the draft before enacting it, perhaps as early as mid-2013. Below is a summary of the key changes proposed in the draft.
- Scope of registrable marks expanded - Article 8 of the 3rd Draft Amendments added sounds and colors to the list of elements considered registrable as a trademark. However, it is recently reported that the NPC’ three reading draft deleted the regulation that ‘Single color can be registrable as a trademark’.
- Elimination of potential for bad faith opposition - Article 36 of the 3rd Draft Amendments limits the right to oppose only to those who own certain prior rights or who is an interested party. Article 38 further streamlines the opposition process by eliminating the right of appeal currently available to the opponent to the TRAB.
- E-filing and multi-class filings - The 3rd Draft Amendments restates provisions in earlier drafts that would permit e-filing of trademark applications as well as multiclass filings.
- Enforcement - Article 67 of the 3rd Draft Amendments proposes to increase the maximum statutory damages from the current RMB 500,000 to RMB 1,000,000. Article 68 now explicitly gives permission to courts to grant preliminary injunctions within 48 hours.
- Deadlines for appeal - Most deadlines for appeal that are currently fixed at 15 days are extended to 30 days.