By King & Wood’s Intellectual Property Group
Whether service trademarks used by shopping malls and supermarkets can be registered in International Class 35 and receive protection as a registered trademark is rigorously debated both academically and in judicial practice in China.
Opponents argue that the China Trademark Office (CTMO) has clearly stated that wholesale and retail services are not included in Class 35, and thus the services of shopping malls and supermarkets cannot be classified as such (the CTMO published this in their official written reply to Sichuan Provincial Administration for Industry and Commerce, "Reply to the Issue of Whether Shopping Mall and Supermarket Services are Included in Class 35" on August 13, 2004). Furthermore, it stated that the contents of "sale promotion (for others)" refer to providing advice, planning, promotion and consulting for others to sell goods or services. As a result of the Reply, even if a trademark is registered under "sales promotion (for others)", such marks of wholesale and retail enterprises, such as department stores, supermarkets, wholesale markets, can hardly be effectively protected by China’s Trademark Law.