Provisions on Electronic Trademark Applications (Mainland China)

Joyce Wen

The State Intellectual Property Office (the “SIPO”) promulgated the Provisions on Electronic Trademark Applications (the “Provisions”) on August 27, 2019.  Consisting of 13 articles, the Provisions clarify the scope and filing requirements for electronic trademark applications and confirm the effectiveness of electronic applications in trademark registration and subsequent procedures.  The Provisions came into effect on September 1, 2019.

In terms of the scope, the Provisions apply to all types of electronic trademark application services that are enabled on the SIPO’s online trademark service system.  All of the provisions concerning trademark application and trademark documents in the Trademark Law of the People’s Republic of China and the Regulation on the Implementation of the Trademark Law of the People’s Republic of China also apply to electronic trademark applications, except for those specifically concerning paper submissions.

In terms of matters to be noted, the Provisions point out that prior to submission of the application, the applicant is required to register as a user by executing the User Agreement for the Online Trademark Service System and properly fill out user information.  Applicants may complete the electronic application on their own or retain a trademark agency to do so on their behalf.  When submitting electronic trademark application documents or materials, they shall comply with the required document formats, data standards, operating guidelines and transmission methods.  In addition, after an electronic application is submitted, the SIPO will no longer accept paper submissions of subsequent materials relating to that application.  However, if necessary, SIPO may still request an applicant to submit corresponding paper materials and physical evidence within a designated period.  It should be especially noted that SIPO deems the delivery date of an electronically submitted trademark document to be the 15th day after the document is issued.

The implementation of the Provisions represents another achievement of SIPO’s effort to delegate power, streamline administration, optimize government services and promote the ongoing reform to facilitate the trademark registration process.  It is believed that this will bring more convenience to trademark registration applicants in the future.