SCIO briefing on implementing the Outline of 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) and accelerating the strengthening of intellectual property in China

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Phoenix TV:

Trademark squatting the names of celebrities and well-known companies has attracted wide public attention. What specific measures are in place to crack down on malicious trademark registration? What does the NIPA plan to do as the next step to curb these acts? Thank you.

Shen Changyu:

Thanks for your questions. Mr. He, deputy commissioner of the NIPA, will answer this question.

He Zhimin:

Thanks for your questions. The NIPA firmly stands against malicious trademark registration and actively promotes trademark registration in good faith among the public.

According to the Trademark Law, malicious trademark registration includes acts that violate the principle of good faith and which aim to exploit or misuse others' market reputation, damage others' lawful rights, or infringe on public resources. It mainly involves two situations. The first is malicious trademark registration of famous brands, trending news events, major national projects, or celebrity names. The other involves the hoarding of trademarks with no intention to use them.

The two situations have major negative social impacts. Malicious trademark squatting, like in the case of registering the name of Ding Zhen, a social media influencer in China, aims to make illegal gains and thereby disrupts the order of trademark registration management and causes a negative social impact. Trademark hoarding, such as the more than 300 trademark registration applications made by a single company and were rejected by our office some time ago, is a waste of market and administrative resources and seriously harms public interest.

To address these issues and create a better market environment, we have made efforts in the following four aspects. First, promote the improvement of laws and regulations. The fourth revision of the Trademark Law added a provision that states that "malicious trademark registration that is not intended for use should be rejected," and moved the threshold for combating malicious hoarding of trademark applications to the examination stage as well as throughout the entire trademark application registration process. Second, improve the identification of malicious registrations. By using a trademark review database, as well as human judgment, we can pinpoint malicious registration acts in our review process. Third, take differentiated approaches in our work methods. For acts that have a major negative social impact, like the ones for registering "Leishenshan," a makeshift hospital built in response to the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan, and "Clear Love," the patriotic expression made by Chinese martyr Chen Xiangrong in his diary, have been quickly rejected and made public, drawing wide criticism of the applicants of such trademarks. From 2018 to 2020, the NIPA had rejected over 150,000 filings of malicious trademark registration and trademark hoarding. Fourth, organize a special campaign to crack down on those illegal acts. During last year's Blue Sky campaign, we interviewed 2,950 trademark agencies about their practices. Last month, the NIPA launched a special campaign targeting malicious trademark squatting to increase law enforcement and enhance deterrence.

For the next step, we will continue to improve the legal system for trademark protection, increase punishment of violations, and make typical cases in trademark infringement public to promote China's brand building and high-quality IPR development. Thank you.

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