Managing Intellectual Property invited intellectual property attorneys and in-house counsel for global brands to discuss the usefulness of registering trademarks in China. Although it can be difficult and expensive to enforce trademarks in China, it can be necessary. About 80% of counterfeit products on the market come from China, according to Danny Awdeh, partner and leader of the trademark and copyright group at Finnegan in Washington, DC.
Over the past decade, enforcement has become easier, due in part to the sheer number of American corporations that have entered the Chinese market. According to Awdeh, injunctive relief was awarded in just 1% of cases in China in 2016, but “comments made by the courts suggest more robust protections.” For example, in 2017, in the Uncle Martian case, a Chinese court awarded damages and granted an injunction against a Chinese infringer selling athletic wear that featured a logo similar to Under Armour’s. As Awdeh observes, “We’ve seen this in luggage and other consumer products, so hopefully this trend will continue.”