China Amends Trademark Law: Stronger Protection for All

Chinese authorities published Amendments of the Trademark Law and are implementing the Iron Fist Action to strictly regulate IPR in the market. Malicious trademark registration applications will be rejected. Malicious trademark registration is loosely defined as the preemptive registration of another company's name, IP etc. for illegitimate business purposes. Trademark infringement in China's wine sector is still a major issue. The Iron Fist Action earmarks the wine sector for special rectification and severe punishments will be imposed on companies violating IPR.

Background: Regulatory Reforms

Time Events
Apr. 23, 2019Amendments to the trademark law were adopted [1], it will take effect on Nov. 1st, 2019, and aims at stopping malicious trademark registration.
Apr. 26, 2019SAMR and the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) jointly issued the 2019 'Iron Fist Action Plan' for IPR Enforcement to crack down on infringement of trademark and patent intellectual property rights and other illegal activities.
Jun. 14, 2019SAMR issued a notification announcing an escalation in their rectification campaign targeting IPR infringement, the production and sale of counterfeit and substandard goods [2] .

The Iron Fist Action provides specific operational benchmark/measures to combat trademark infringement, while the revision of the Trademark Law provides more legal support. These rules are likely to have a significant impact on China's wine market as government steps up protection of well-known brands and cracks down on trademark 'tufthunting' and counterfeiting.

Note: 'tufthunting' refers to the practice where merchants trademark the names of established brands and use their reputation to attract business without paying or informing the brand [3].

Chart 1 Fake brands (examples of Supreme)
 

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Jocelyn Sun
ChemLinked Research Analyst
Jocelyn Sun is a market research analyst working at ChemLinked and mainly focuses on the FMCG industry. She graduated from the Queen Mary University of London with a master's degree in marketing. Extensive experience in attending industrial conferences (China Dairy Products Annual Conference, CIIE, etc.), and having been invited to speak in influential forums (FHC, CBBC, etc.). Through direct dialogues with industrial professionals, Jocelyn has been keeping pace with and possessing an in-depth understanding of new-concept products, especially plant-based protein, FSMP, anxiety relief products.
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