Supreme Court strives to curtail abuse of well-known trademark protection

Vice President of the Supreme People’s Court of China Cho Jianming has expressed the court’s determination to prevent businesses from abusing the system of well-known trademark protection. His remarks were made at the Second National Courts Conference on Trials of Intellectual Property Cases, which was held in Jinan, Shandong Province.

According to Cho, the purpose of recognising that a trademark is well known is to strengthen protection for that mark in China. Well-known trademark protection is offered only if the mark is infringed or if it is pre-emptively registered by unrelated third parties. The Supreme Court will not grant protection to a well-known trademark if protection is not sought in accordance with such purpose and under such circumstances.

In order to prevent trademark owners from improperly seeking recognition of well-known status, the Supreme Court asked that all national courts carefully verify and investigate all evidence and facts filed in support of an application for recognition of well-known status. Any acts of perjury that are uncovered should be prosecuted to the full extent possible. In addition, the recognition of a mark as well known should not be mentioned in the main context of a judgment and a mark should not be recognised as well known in an arbitration decision.

In China, a trademark can be recognised as a well-known mark by the courts, the Trademark Office or the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board. Most businesses opt to go through the courts in order to acquire well-known status for their trademarks.

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