The Chinese State Administration for Industry & Commerce (“SAIC”) has recently launched a new initiative, allowing foreign trademark owners to designate a Mainland China-based contact person for their registered trademarks. Foreign trademark owners who take advantage of this service should benefit from more efficient and effective administrative trademark enforcement.

Currently, when local bureaus of the SAIC (“local AICs”) identify suspected counterfeit goods, they check the China Trademark Office record for local contact information. Unfortunately, the contact information (usually the trademark agent who prosecuted the action) is frequently out of date and valuable time is wasted getting notice to the trademark owner. To address this issue, the SAIC is asking foreign trademark owners to designate a local contact person, so they can liaise directly and quickly with the designated contact person should the need arise. The designated contact person can, inter alia, provide details about the trademark registration and verify the authenticity of goods suspected to be counterfeits. The goal is to streamline and expedite administrative enforcement actions in China.

This new service should be useful for foreign trademark owners with products that are regularly counterfeited in China and for whom administrative enforcement is possible. The SAIC has asked that local contact designations be made by 20 July 2016, but they possibly would accept designations made after that date.