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China: New trade mark law to enter into force on 1 May 2014

As announced earlier, the third revision of the Chinese trade mark law has been completed and the new law will become effective on 1 May 2014. China's trade mark law was first adopted in 1982 and the previous two amendments took place in 1993 and 2001.

The changes have introduced a number of measures to facilitate the registration of trade marks, such as allowing the registration of sound trade marks and multi-class applications, opening online filing, stipulating time limits for trade mark examination (period has been shortened to nine months) and review procedures. Furthermore, the opposition procedure has been restructured.

The use of well-known trade marks in advertisements and other commercial activities is now clearly prohibited under the new law, and the use of registered trade marks as trade names to mislead the public is regarded as unfair competition.

Along with several measures to strengthen the protection of existing trade mark rights, the maximum amount of compensation in trade mark infringement cases has been increased from 500 000 RMB to three million RMB.

For an English version of the new trade mark law, please refer to the English website of the Intellectual Property Publishing House of the Chinese Patent Office (SIPO). An online version of the previous law can be found on the Chinese Trademark Office's English website.

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