On August 30th, the Standing Committee of the 12th National People’s Congress adopted at its 4th Session approved the Decision on Revising the Trademark Law of the People’s Republic of China, which will go into effect on May 1st 2014. This is the third revision of the Trademark Law of the People’s Republic of China (the Trademark Law) since its enactment in 1982.
It has been three decades since the enactment of the Trademark Law which has gone through two major overhauls. It is undeniable that over the past 30 years, it has contributed positively to China’s economic and social development. However, with the further development of market economy and the rapid growth of various market players, trademarks are playing an ever increasing role in social and economic activities of China; and also increasing are the trademark-involved disputes and conflicts among these market players. With the ceaseless emergence of all kinds of new and complicated legal problems, either in trademark application process, opposition, adjudication, or in related administrative litigations or civil cases, the Trademark Law currently in force has been found insufficient to meet the current market needs, and a third major overhaul was pressed for.
Different from the previous two revisions, the current one is based on the actual needs in China, and seeks further perfection of the current trademark legal system by targeting the existing problems in practice.
Generally, this revision addresses long-term problems of national concerns, such as the backlog of examination of trademark applications, complicated rights affirming procedures, rampant cybersquatting, “alienation” of the well-known trademark system, and inadequate compensation in trademark infringement cases. Some of the amended contents will exert a major influence on trademark right holders and trademark practitioners.
Although the results of this revision may not fully meet the expectation of the society, especially of the academic circles, it can yet be regarded as a pragmatic choice under the realistic environment of China’s social management and legal system operations.