By Jiang Ling, Partner, King & Wood’s Trademark Department

The term "works" used and protected under the Copyright Law refers to original intellectual creations in the literary, artistic and the scientific domain, in so far as they are capable of being reproduced in a certain tangible form. As for literal works, this refers to the works manifested in text form, no matter how long it is or what type or format of literature it uses. As long as it is original, it should be within the scope of protection by the PRC Copyright Law (as well as Trademarks as previously discussed). Therefore, it can be concluded that an advertising slogan is in principle not excluded from copyright protection on the condition that it is original. However, the Copyright Law does not define what "original" is. Judging by judicial practice, the expression of original works may not necessarily be unprecedented, and re-creation based on previous intellectual works of others is not forbidden either. In general, works possess originality as long as it is created by the author independently rather than plagiarizing others’ works which bears some personalized characteristics. Thus, it is possible for slogans to be copyrighted.


Continue Reading Just Do It!? Protecting Advertising Slogans in China Part II

By Jiang Ling, Partner, King & Wood’s Trademark Department

Concise and vivid advertising slogans quickly draw the public’s attention and are integral to a company’s brand. Over years of use and promotion, some slogans have become well-known to the public, such as Nike’s "Just do it",  Adidas’ "Impossible is nothing" and DeBeers’  "Diamonds are forever." In many ways, such slogans are often no less important than the company’s logo and other marks. As such, companies must figure how to protect and prevent the unlicensed use of their advertising slogans. Accomplishing this in China presents a unique set of considerations.


Continue Reading Just Do It!? Protecting Advertising Slogans in China Part I