China – changes to rules on use of registered trademarks

The Chinese Intellectual Property Institute (CNIPA) has decided to strengthen the rules on trademark use by setting the criteria for determining illegal acts relating to trademarks.

The rules list 10 types of general illegal acts relating to trademarks, including:

  • Failure of a licensee to indicate its name or a place of production
  • Failing to meet product marking obligations
  • Filing a trademark in bad faith (especially for a local distributor)

Furthermore, a trademark that is ultimately rejected, cancelled or invalidated by the Office should no longer be used as a trademark, in particular to avoid an investigation and an administrative sanction.

Finally, if you use a trademark that is not registered in China, we recommend that you do not use the ® registration symbol or other symbols or terms indicating that your trademark is registered. Therefore, if you intend to market products in China with an unregistered trademark, it would be safer to have these symbols removed before the products enter China.

This law came into force on 1 January 2022.

If you have any questions on this matter, please do not hesitate to contact our office.