Industry official notes that less than 20 percent of the nation's exports carry Chinese branding
Fu Shuangjian (right), vice-minister of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, talks about trademark management during an inspection of Silk Street, a popular market in Beijing. [Photo / Provided to China Daily]
The nation's first International Golden Trademark Awards are scheduled to be handed out next year in Chengdu as industry regulators continue to encourage homegrown products to move onto the world market.
Part of the China Trademark Festival, the awards will be presented in the name of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Fu Shuangjian, vice-minister of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC), told China Daily in an exclusive interview.
As the top national trademark administration, SAIC is in charge of designing the event, collecting entries and recommending candidates.
It will become the third ongoing national intellectual property awards presented by WIPO in China. Annual patent and biennial copyright awards are now presented in cooperation with the State Intellectual Property Office and National Copyright Administration.
"The honor will help winners promote their brands and increase competitiveness in international markets," Fu said.
Less than 20 percent of China's exports actually carry Chinese brand names. Most are outsourced work done for foreign brands - the most vulnerable to recent worldwide economic turmoil, he noted.
"So we need to improve exports and increase the proportion of proprietary brands," he said.
Fu added that registration is crucial to overseas trademark protection.
"Without registration, you may be able to sell or promote your brand, but if you encounter infringements, you will not have legal remedy in some countries."
To help domestic companies know more about the Madrid system of international trademark registration, the SAIC conducted training across the country over the past two years.
To date, Chinese applicants have registered some 11,000 trademarks abroad through the Madrid system, ranking China eighth globally.
But the international total is much higher, Fu said, because three times as many Chinese companies now file in separate countries rather than using the Madrid system.
Domestic filings through the Madrid registration system were clustered in garments, handbags, food, farm products, telecommunication equipment and auto parts in the first half of 2010.
Trademark applications from abroad centered around telecommunications and computers, garments and shoes, technological services, advertising, business management, makeup and machinery.
China continued to be biggest destination country for international trademark applications in 2010, according to WIPO statistics.
In addition to promoting use of the Madrid system, SAIC has also signed bilateral agreements on trademark cooperation with nearly 28 countries, regions and international organization.
This year, SAIC also increased exchanges with Africa's regional trademark organizations as increasing numbers of Chinese companies are doing business on the continent.
About 20 Chinese trademarks have been registered in Africa by local firms - which "shows the urgent need for cooperation with trademark organizations", Fu said.