Outreach to Patent Community, Building Awareness on Brand Restrictions

Published: October 1, 2018

From August 29 to September 1, INTA’s President-Elect David Lossignol (Sandoz, Switzerland) represented INTA at a series of events in China alongside the nation’s leading intellectual property (IP) authorities.

First Outreach to China’s Patent Community

The China Patent Annual Conference (CPAC – 专利年会) has been held every year for nine years. This year, INTA was extended an invitation to attend. Commissioner Shen Changyu of the China National IP Administration (CNIPA, formerly the State Administration of IP (SIPO)), Deputy Commissioner Liu Junchen, and Director General of WIPO Francis Gurry gave opening remarks. Notably, China’s Premier, Li Keqiang, had recently held a meeting with Mr. Gurry following a high-level summit on IP and the Belt and Road Initiative (see articles here and here on INTA’s involvement in highlighting IP protection in the Belt and Road). The importance of IP to China’s economic and global leadership was a central message.

Mr. Lossignol was invited to speak at an afternoon breakout session titled “The Collaborative Approach to IP Strategies.” He briefly introduced INTA and pointed to recent work focused on the importance of embracing innovation and change, as outlined in the 2018‒2021 Strategic Plan.

Raising Awareness on Brand Restrictions

Following the CPAC meeting, Mr. Lossignol proceeded to nearby Tangshan, China, to participate in the China Trademark Association Trademark Festival (CTF). The CTF has been organized for 10 years, and this is the fourth time that INTA was invited to organize a dedicated session. During the course of the CTF, INTA was presented with an award for “Contributions to International Trademark and Brand Communication” and attended a protocol meeting with leadership from CNIPA, alongside MARQUES, the Japan Patent Attorneys Association (JPAA), IP attachés of the European Union (EU) Embassy, and the U.S. Embassy.

Recognizing the number of brands at the CTF that may be affected by brand restrictions, INTA organized a panel session on the regional impact of brand restrictions in the context of the regional expansion of protection of trademarks through adoption of nontraditional marks in a session titled “Brand Restriction vs. Non-Traditional Trademarks.” Nearly 100 attendees joined the event, which featured INTA Members Simon Brown (Adams & Adams, South Africa), Meredith Levins (Airbnb, Inc, USA), and Nuttaphol Arammuang (ZICO IP, Thailand).

Mr. Brown shared INTA’s research and positions regarding brand restrictions globally, and in particular the role that INTA has played in countering plain packaging around the world. Mr. Arammuang shared INTA’s research on how nontraditional marks are expanding in the region. Ms. Levins provided insight on the growing importance of nontraditional marks for brands, particularly those that sell goods and services online. The overall discussion focused on how nontraditional marks, such as shape and color, are most vulnerable to brand restriction, which includes plain packaging rules. Plain packaging rules seek to standardize packaging and remove all elements of a trademark except for a uniform word mark.

INTA joined other events around the CTF, such as the DotTrademark Reception for China’s growing cohort of Internet and IP-focused professionals. Mr. Lossignol addressed the reception, calling attention to INTA’s tremendous work at ICANN and fighting for brand owner rights in the face of growing challenges presented by the WHOIS blackout under the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Mr. Lossignol called on China’s IP professionals to become more engaged about Internet issues as they relate to IP and brands.

INTA’s outreach at these events has underscored the commitment of the organization to achieving its two track goals in China: (1) to assist Chinese brands in developing and protecting themselves as they grow outside of China’s borders; and (2) to provide guidance and insight for multinational corporations seeking to protect their brands inside China.

Su Hong (Monica) Joins INTA as Representative Officer, Shanghai

INTA is pleased to announce that Su Hong (Monica) has joined INTA as Representative Officer, Shanghai.

Ms. Su takes the lead on INTA’s government relations with Chinese intellectual property authorities, including planning and delivering policy-related dialogues, educational events and trainings, and communications.

For the past four years, Ms. Su has been employed by the British Embassy in Beijing in the role of Intellectual Property Officer for Business Support in the Economic and Trade Policy Section. She has also held positions in the International Cooperation Department of the State Administration for Industry & Commerce of the People’s Republic of China (SAIC), and the Legal Affairs Division of the China Trademark Association.

Prior to that, she was in private practice at Li & Lee Intellectual Property Agency, also in Beijing. She holds a double master’s degree in European Union Law from Hamburg University and in Chinese Law from the China University of Political Science and Law. She received her bachelor’s degree in English also from the China University of Political Science and Law. Ms. Su is fluent in English and Japanese.

INTA’s China Representative Office based in Shanghai represents the Association’s 235 members in China. Working in collaboration with staff at INTA’s headquarters in New York City, the China Representative Office leads the Association’s policy, membership, marketing, and communications initiatives in these jurisdictions. To learn more about INTA’s activities in China, please contact INTA Representative Officer, Shanghai, Monica Su at [email protected].

Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of items in the INTA Bulletin, readers are urged to check independently on matters of specific concern or interest. Law & Practice updates are published without comment from INTA except where it has taken an official position.

© 2018 International Trademark Association