The number of trade mark applications filed in China has increased rapidly in recent years with over 5 million applications lodged in 2017. The China Trade Marks Office (CTMO) has recently decided to further simplify the requirements for application documents, optimize its procedures, and shorten the examination of recordal and renewal applications. These changes in practice include:
- Simplification of the documentary requirements so only one set of the owner’s copy of identity certificate and Power of Attorney, together with the copy of the relevant documentary proof is needed for many paper-filed actions that previously needed one set of documents per trade mark. These requirements apply to:
- filing multiple trade mark applications;
- assignments and other recordals against multiple marks,
- recordals of license, and
- obtaining extra registration certificates.
The Power of Attorney should list all of the trade marks and the application should specify the above supporting documents are attached in the application form.
- The formality and substantive examination of applications for recordal of change of name, address, agent, and renewal applications, etc. has been simplified by combining both examinations. The procedure to issue filing receipts for acceptance or non-acceptance of such applications during the formality examination has been abolished to enhance the efficiency of the examination process. Under the new practices, the decision of such applications will be issued after the combined examination is complete.
- The applicant will no longer be required to submit a trade mark specimen in black and white when filing a trade mark application for a composite mark, word or device mark in colour. If the CTMO requires a black and white specimen during the formality or substantive examination, it will ask the applicant to provide this.
- For multiple recordal applications filed via the CTMO’s online system, the applicant only needs to submit the information and documents for the first application, and the system will automatically link up such information and documents to the next one to avoid repeated filling and uploading. In this way, online filing will become more efficient and convenient.
- The acceptable items of goods and services other than those standard description of goods and services in the CTMO’s “Classification Work Manual ” have been updated and published in April 2018.
In addition, in order to meet the significant demand for trade mark registration in China and to strengthen the intellectual property protection based on securing trademark registration, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce of the PRC is planning to significantly shorten the time frame for the examination of trade mark applications.
- With effect from 1 April 2018, the first examination of recordal applications will be completed within one month.
- With effect from 1 June 2018, the first examination of renewal applications will be completed within one month.
- By the end of 2018, the examination of trade mark applications will be shortened to 6 months and by 2020, the CTMO intends to further cut the trade mark examination period (including for International Registrations) to less than 4 months.
The CTMO will initiate the revision of the China Trade Mark Law by inviting the public to provide opinions and suggestions on revising the existing law. The CTMO is now soliciting opinions of the public. The deadline for this public consultation is 31 July 2018.