For the half-year to 31 December 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Rebecca Gulbul, Lucas Michels and Marie-Andrée Weiss.

Regular round-ups of the previous week's blogposts are kindly compiled by Alberto Bellan.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

China, IP enforcement, trade fairs and trade marks

China: are we progressing from unfair to funfair?
The IPKat's recent posts on IP enforcement in China have, not unsurprisingly, generated a good deal of interest and comment (see here, here, here and here).  Adding fuel to the fire of readers' interest is the IPKat's friend Michael Lin, who tells us:
"IP Enforcement at ChineseTrade fairs is possible, and relatively easy at the larger fairs -- if you have the proper documentation ready. This is because all Chinese trade fairs that last three days or longer are required to have an IP officer on-site to handle infringement complaints.

While this is an Administrative action, and not a court action, it pays to have the documents notarized and legalized, at least on the patent side. Trade marks officers may have looser requirements, and one should always check out the actual requirements of the trade show you intend to attend.

The required documents include, as originals (the IP right) or legalized copies (other documents):
  • the IP right;
  • a certificate of incorporation/good standing of the IP Right owner if it is a company. If the owner is an individual, proof of identity is needed;
  • a certificate of legal representation, testifying as to the identity of the legal representative;
  • a power of attorney signed by the legal representative, giving a named person the right to enforce the IP;
  • Chinese translations of all the above.
Other documents may be required, depending on the requirements of each trade show. While legalized documents are not always needed, if they are legalized the officers have no excuse to refuse a request for enforcement.

The Canton Fair in Guangzhou (allegedly the largest export trade fair in the world), with which I am most familiar, always has groups of trade mark and patent officers in attendance. Following submission of the documents and the filing of a complaint identifying the specific booth(s) showing the allegedly infringing article(s), the officers will go to investigate. If they find the items, they will order the booth to remove them. If the booth contests the charge and/or the IP, they will have 24 hours to present the evidence.

In extreme cases, the officers can close the booth and, for repeat offenders, they can prevent them from displaying at the next show. In my experience, trade marks are the easiest to enforce, then designs, and finally utility models and patents.

If people want to enforce their IP in Chinese Trade Fairs, especially the larger ones, it is definitely possible. But it is worth it for IP owners to check what specific requirements there are at that specific trade fair, and to have the proper documentation ready well in advance.

Alternatively (or concurrently), some IP owners attend in order to collect evidence of infringement. By bringing a Chinese notary to the fair, you can gather notarized evidence that may be used in a future Chinese litigation or administrative enforcement action. IP owners can also find out other useful information, such as infringing manufacturers, sellers and volumes".
Michael has also provided a copy of the 6 May 2011 Consultation Paper on Measures for Protection of Intellectual Property Rights Involved in Exhibitions, which you can download as a Word document here.


Meanwhile, from the ever-excellent Paul Jones (Jones & Co., Toronto) comes news of a sudden development in the process for revision of China's trade mark legislation.  He writes
"The third set of amendments to the PRC Trademark Law Have been under way for some time, with several consultations having being conducted by the PRC State Administration for Industry and Commerce .... Eventually the draft was finalized and passed to the State Council ... for review and approval before being sent to the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (the legislature) for debate. However last Thursday the State Council Legislative Affairs Office posted a draft online for public comment (in Chinese) here.

Comments are due October 8, 2011.

According to a brief article (in Chinese) on the web site of the State Intellectual Property Office, revisions have been made to allow sound marks and to limit the use of geographical names, both Chinese and foreign".
Paul adds that generally the proposed amendments are considered a significant improvement and that it is good to see them move forward through the legislative process.

The IPKat is delighted to see that the position of rights-owners, both foreign and local, appears to be improving. Let's see if the results match the good intentions.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

It is noted that the 2011 Consultation paper relating to Exhibitions, contains chapters on patents, trade marks and copyright but no mention of designs?

This seems strange unless design law in China would be classified under any one of the other headings.

Can anyone confirm this point?

I see that Michael Lin specifically mentions designs in his letter.

Ali Hijazi / AGIP Libya Office said...

Thanks Jermey for post this topic, it is very important issue and necessary in China to regulate IP Enforcement in Trade fairs to fight infringements in large and small fairs.

Anonymous said...

Virusman was the name of a Danish company founded in 2000. The company consisted of a cartoon character similar to Spiderman who was going to save the world from destruction. The motto "He cares" is a registered Trademark at the Danish Patents Agency.

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