By Yang Hua King & Wood Mallesons’ IP group

To increase the quality and efficiency of trademark examinations, China Trademark Office has recently introduced new facilitation measures and plans for trademark registration, including:

  • implementing electronic issuance of documents
  • speeding up the examination process
  • reducing the time allowed to oppose or provide supplementary evidence
  • introducing the obligation to provide proofs of use after registration.

Facilitation measures

1. Further reduction of examination time.

Objectives by the end of 2017:

  • Reduce time to issue a new trademark application filing receipt from 3 months to 2
  • Reduce registration examination period from 9 months to 8

Objectives by the end of 2018:

  • Reduce time to issue a new trademark application filing receipt from  2 months to 1
  • Reduce registration examination period from 8 months to 6
  • Reduce trademark assignment examination period from 6 months to 4
  • Reduce period for examination of change or renewal from 3 months to 2
  • Reduce blind search period from 3 months to 2

2. Streamline examination process to increase efficiency:

In the first half of 2018, new trademark application filing receipts will be issued electronically. Going forward, applicants will be able to download online and print filing receipts independently, further reducing issuance time.

The electronic issuance of other documents for trademark related matters will also be promoted, to move away from traditional paper format.

3. Promote full digitisation of trademark application:

  • Apart from the electronic Trademark Gazette already in place, by the end of 2017, Trademark Gazette will be published electronically within one week after preliminary approval. The overall period from application to issuance of a registration certificate will be further reduced from 1 to 2 months.
  • Establish systems for electronic delivery and registration of trademarks
  • Promote online application system for trademark review and adjudication, opposition, three-year non-use cancellation, etc.
  • Set up an electronic system for one-stop trademark public service by 2019.
  • Improve intelligentized examination by establishing a searchable trademark case database.

4. Promote the following changes in the law to simplify conditions for application acceptance and examination (in discussion stages):

  • The option to cancel proof of qualification submission by applicant to simplify application materials.
  • Potential postponement of amendment of goods/services and payment to issue filing receipt first.
  • The possibility of abolition of relative grounds examination.
  • Reformation of opposition and review and adjudication procedures.
  • Reduction of statutory opposition and proof supplementation period from 3 months to 2, to reduce trademark right determination time.
  • Stricter requirements for trademark use after registration.
  • Clean up ex officio stock trademarks.
  • Create more obligations for trademark holders to provide proof of use after registration and at renewal
  • Eliminate trademark stock and registration for sale.
  • Heavier penalties on infringements and counterfeiting.