According to Article 49 of Chinese Trademark Law, if a registered trademark has not been in use for three consecutive years without justified reason, any entity or individual may file an application with the Trademark Office (CTMO) for the cancellation of the mark.
The number of non-use cancellations has been increasing by years. The data of CTMO shows, the numbers in 2015, 2016, and 2017 are respectively 29,000, 40,000 and 57,000. The main reasons for increase are: 1) it is getting more difficult to register a mark with rapid growth of registrations and decrease of trademark resources, so the applicants hope to uses cancellation system to clear off the obstacles; 2) trademark preemptive registration also increases, making the trademark owns files cancellations to defend their rights.
The CTMO suggest the applicants of non-use cancellations to provide facts, evidences and introduction materials of non-use cancellations and to reduce malicious and blind filings of cancellations. The CTMO meanwhile suggest the registrants of trademarks keep use evidences and submit the evidences as required by the administrative and judicial authorities.
According to Standards of Trademark Examination and Trial, the evidence materials for proving use of mark shall comply with the following requirements:
- Indicate the sign of the mark
- Indicate the goods/services on which the mark is used
- Indicate the user’s name, including the registrant, or others under the license of the registrant. License shall be proved with documents.
- Indicate the time of use, which shall be within the past 3 years from the filing date of cancellation.
- Indicate the place of use in the territorial scope of Trademark Law.
And the following are not recognized as trademark use prescribed by the Trademark Law:
- Publication of trademark registration information or declaration of the registrant on its exclusive right of the mark;
- Use not in public business fields;
- Use only as gifts;
- Assignment or license only, not actual use;
- Symbolic use only for purpose of keeping the registration.