Trademark Office clarifies valid proof of use for cancellation actions

The Chinese Trademark Office recently laid down specific examples of evidence of use that a registered trademark proprietor can provide to defend successfully against a cancellation action for three years' non-use of that mark.

For a product mark, the evidence can consist of use of the trademark:

  • on the product itself or on its container, packaging, label, additional tag, instruction manual or user handbook;
  • on commercial documents relating to the product, including the sales agreement, invoice, receipt, bill, import or export certificate of inspection or quarantine or customs declaration; or
  • in advertising or promotional activities relating to the product, such as in radio or television broadcasts, printed publications approved by the Department for Publication Administration of the State Council, advertising billboards, mail advertisements or government-approved exhibitions or expositions.

Evidence to show use of a service mark can include use of the mark on a service manual, sign board, sign or decoration, menu (for restaurant services), price list, registration certificate for provision of the services, coupon, stationery, invoice, agreement for provision of the services, remittance voucher or invoice.

The Trademark Office considers the following reasons for non-use of the mark to be valid:

  • force majeure;
  • government restrictions;
  • liquidation or bankruptcy of the proprietor; or
  • other circumstances where the proprietor cannot use the trademark.

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