The year of the horse could usher in better opportunities to protect brand integrity with a new trademark law China introduced in May. As Australia’s largest trading partner, there’s no doubting the importance of the People’s Republic of China to the Australian economy. Yet despite long-standing relations between Australia and China, and a renewed eagerness on the part of Australian business to engage with the Chinese market, many Australian businesses fail to take the essential steps required to protect their trademark rights in China.
On 1 May 2014, China’s new trademark law came into force. There are several anticipated changes with which businesses should familiarise themselves, as well as some key branding considerations when protecting trademarks in China.
For businesses based outside China, it’s commonly known that seeking trademark protection and then attempting to enforce any resulting rights can be a protracted and often frustrating experience. Significant delays in examination, opposition, appeal, and a trademarks regime that has often been out of step with evolving global trademark law and practice has meant many international businesses have simply postponed seeking trademark protection in China.
That said, the announcement last year that the new trademark law of the People’s Republic of China would come into force on 1 May 2014 marked an important step for China. The arrival of the long-awaited new trademark law seeks to redress many of the perennial concerns of international brand owners, including improving the efficiency of the application and opposition practice and procedure, significantly increasing fines against infringers (now up to $500,000 USD), introducing the concept of an application being made in good faith, and the areas of piracy and well-known mark determination.
If you would like advice about registering your trademark or otherwise protecting your marketing spend, in Australia, China or anywhere else, send us an email enquiry to [email protected] and we will organise a time to talk with you about your mark and to answer any questions you might have. We also provide a number of free information resources, so just drop us a line and we would be more than happy to send them through to you.
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