This article was written by Yang Hua King & Wood Mallesons‘ IP Group
On April 7th, 2016, the China Trademark Office(CTMO) announced on its official site that the spokesperson of the State Administration of Industry and Commerce (SAIC) said overdue trademark registrations certificates will be issued by the end of May.
Neither overseas nor domestic registrants received trademark registration certificates since August 2015, which marked the start of the delay in the issuance. The official explanation was it took time to go through proper channels to purchase paper used to print the certificate. But uncoordinated cooperation between procurement and relevant departments worsened the situation.
The delay of issuance incurred wide dissatisfaction from trademark registrants and agencies and brought upon difficulties to relevant parties. Certain brand owners’ products are taken off market because of failure to provide the registration certificate even though the trademark has been registered. Brand image gets negatively affected significantly in that registrants are unable to properly safeguard their legal rights for the same reason. When the issue was exposed by the media on April 7, 2016, the SAIC responded on the same day on the website announcing that printing paper has been procured and certificates were being printed around the clock, meanwhile issuing apologies to trademark registrants.
The processing time for the CTMO is approximately 2 months. It takes time for agencies to deliver certificates as well. Thus if brand owners encounter the problem of products being taken off market, we recommend presenting the above official explanation while downloading registration information from http://sbj.saic.gov.cn to prove that the trademark has been registered.