INTA Hosts Its First Virtual Policy Dialogue in China

Published: July 15, 2020

The first virtual policy dialogue hosted by INTA’s China Representative Office focused on the crucially important public consultation on trademark administration, expected to further the agenda of Chinese authorities to crack down on the country’s bad-faith trademark application problem.

This consultation plays a critical role in regulating the day-to-day practice of trademark attorneys in China, and is expected to further the agenda of Chinese authorities to crack down harder on the bad-faith trademark application problem, the single most common problem affecting brands across all industry sectors.

Hu Anqi, Deputy Director of the Legislative Affairs Department, and Chen Zhiwei, Director of CNIPA and responsible for the consultation, participated in the virtual policy dialogue, exchanging views with more than 30 INTA Associate and Regular Members. Notably, it was the first time that INTA extended its collaboration to the legislative front, building on years of a sound relationship with Chinese trademark authorities.

The Association has consolidated the feedback from the brand owners and trademark practitioners into a formal submission to CNIPA.

INTA’s China Trademark Office Practice Subcommittee (TOPC) is leading on the policy submission. Participants voiced concern over the disproportionate duty of care required of attorneys in vetting potential bad-faith trademark applications when advising their clients.

Amanda Yang, chair of the China TOPC Subcommittee, moderated the May 19, 2020 virtual meeting, and speaking on behalf of the Committee and INTA’s Associate Members were Committee members Nick Ji (Corner Stone & Partners, Beijing), Virginia Zhao (An, Tian, Zhang & Partners, Beijing), SHI Hui (Simmons & Simmons, Beijing), Stella Liu (JUNCY Intellectual Property Agency Co., Ltd, Guangzhou), Shirley Kwok (Ribeiro Hui, Beijing), and Tang Zhanqing (Chofn Intellectual Property, Beijing).

Screenshot From Virtual Policy DialogueMeanwhile, INTA’s Regular Members raised common questions as to the complaint filing mechanism in the current draft especially. In 2018, China’s ministry reshuffled across the country the responsible authority for receiving filed complaints, and that of taking actions to investigate and enforce may vary from place to place. This caused significant confusion to brand owners, particularly since their job is to engage the local grassroots enforcement agencies.

INTA asked in its submission that a more clarified division of labor should be specified in terms of the practicality of intellectual property (IP) offices and Administrations for Market Regulation at local levels to help ensure an enforceable and consistent practice across the country. In the meantime, the criteria of “awareness or should be aware of” as stipulated in the current draft is expected to be further clarified and unified to shed light on the blatant intent of potential violation.

At the conclusion of the meeting, participants acknowledged that continued policy dialogues on legislative items and an open channel to weigh in would be beneficial to all, which would positively affect the Chinese legislative amendment process in the coming years. Monica Su, China Representative Officer, concluded the meeting by reiterating that “the beauty of legislation lies in these nuances of the law to be fully explored to balance out interests of all parties.”

INTA will continue to be a strong advocate of trademark and related IP rights in China and will continue to provide a platform where stakeholders may communicate.

Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of this article, readers are urged to check independently on matters of specific concern or interest.

© 2020 International Trademark Association