As you may be aware, the newly-adopted China Trademark Law aims to check and combat preemptive registration for prior-use marks. This new legislation can be found in Article 15, upon which any prior user can rely in the opposition or invalidation procedures.

Under the current Article 15, China Trademark Law,

Where any agent or representative registers, in its or his own name, the trademark of a person for whom it or he acts as the agent or representative without authorization therefrom, and the latter raises opposition, the trademark shall be refused for registration and prohibited from use.

Under the new Article 15, China Trademark Law, which comes in force on May 1, 2014, a new clause is added to cover registration dispute over prior use,

Where any applicant enters into a contractual or commercial relationship or the like with the prior user of a mark and knowingly registers the mark in identical or similar specimen on identical or similar goods, the trademark shall be refused for registration in case the latter raises opposition.

Upon the new legislation, our SPTL trademark attorneys advise that the commercial relationship can be evidenced by way of any contract, invoice, order, customs documents, etc., which shall be well docketed and expressly borne with specific marks and goods. Where one party is a local company, it would be better for it to have any business document bearing its full name in Chinese with company stamp/seal. It will be burdensome to prove the existing commercial relationship in any opposition or invalidation procedures in the absence of the Chinese equivalent of entity or of specific marks and goods concerned.