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China New Trademark Law Effective since Nov. 1, 2019

As revealed by No. 29 Presidential Decree [1] issued in Apr. In 2019, China officially passed the amendment to “Trademark Law” [2]. The new law became effective on Nov. 1, 2019. The rationale for the reform of China’s Trademark Law was heavily influenced by the pervasiveness of trademark squatting and other unethical practices.

China’s trademark registration system follows a “first-to-file” principle, which has traditionally been exploited by both enterprises and individuals for unethical gains at the expense of legitimate businesses. For example, an engineer in Beijing spent 1000 RMB to trademark a white spirit alcoholic beverage under the name “Mo Yan Zui” (“莫言醉” in Chinese). Shortly after, in 2012, Mo Yan won the Nobel Prize, causing a massive spike in demand for the trademark, which was purchased from the engineer by a large liquor producer for 10 million RMB shortly after. 

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