This article was written by Ding Xianjie (Partner).
Approved and announced by the Standing Committee of National People’s Congress on April 23, 2019, new amendments of Chinese Trademark Law become effective on November 1, 2019. Focusing on the attempts to stop trademark squatters and trademark infringement, six articles of the current Trademark Law are amended.
According to the amendments, any trademark applications which are filed in bad faith for purpose other than use should be rejected (Article 4). Accordingly, any such application can be opposed by anyone within opposition period (Article 33), or can be invalidated after its registration (Article 44), and administrative warning and/or penalty may be issued for such kind of bad faith applications (Article 68). Furthermore, any trademark agencies shall not accept the entrustments from the applicants of such applications (Article 19).
According to the amendments, for trademark infringement committed in bad faith with serious circumstances, the amount of damages can be up to five times of the amount calculated on normal basis (current law regulates “three times”); and the statutory amount of damages can be up to five million (current law provides “three million”) Chinese Yuan (Article 63). Furthermore, the new amendments also regulate that, upon the request of the trademark owner, the counterfeited goods and the materials/tools primarily used for the manufacturing of such goods should be destroyed without any compensation (Article 63). For trademark lawsuits filed in bad faith, the people’s court shall impose penalty (Article 68).
The new amendments will provide stronger protection to the trademark owners in good faith. Said new amendments will take effect from November 1, 2019, but the rejection of applications which are obviously filed by trademark squatters seems having already been started.