The Trademark OfficeÕs Seven Measures for Better Facilitating the Trademark Application Process(Mainland China)

James Cheng
On March 24, the Trademark Office of the State Administration of Industry and Commerce announced on its official website seven measures providing more efficient and convenient trademark application services through more refined correction notices and activation of accelerated examination for certain applications. The seven measures are:

(1) Publication of the “Trademark Application FAQ”.

The Trademark Office summarized the frequently asked questions encountered in its handling of trademark registration applications, which include the new situations and issues encountered after the New Trademark Law and its implementation regulations have taken effect. The FAQ, which can be viewed on the China Trademark Office website, contains answers to 66 questions, with a specific focus on (1) the application process, documentation required and fees; (2) how to fill out the trademark application form; and (3) corrections and supplements to the trademark application.

(2) Notarization of supporting materials for certain trademark applications is no longer required.

For applications seeking to trademark a portrait or the name of a celebrity, the assignment and cancellation of a trademark, or changes to a foreign name or address of a trademark, the applicant will no longer be required to notarize the supporting materials so as to reduce the burden on the applicant and the application processing time.

(3) The contents of a correction notice are refined.

Currently, the Trademark Office has always required corrections for any product not included in the Table on Similar Goods and Services on grounds that they are “not regulated”, and only one correction opportunity is provided. In the future, the Trademark Office will provide more reasoning in its corrections notice so that the applicant’s correction can be more targeted and accurate.

(4) Allowing the same set of evidentiary materials to be used in multiple opposition cases.

If multiple oppositions are filed in the same month, and the applicant would be submitting the exact same materials for all filings, then it may submit all the documents in the first case, and it is no longer necessary to submit repetitive evidentiary materials in other opposition cases.

(5) The scope of consolidated examination of opposition cases is expanded.

For cases with the same parties, the same trademarks being opposed and the same set of evidence, or cases in which the parties oppose each otherÕs trademarks, the cases may be consolidated and examined together. The parties may request a consolidation, and the Trademark Office may grant such a request for cases in which such treatment is appropriate.

(6) Accelerated examination for subsequent matters following trademark registration.

In case the applicant has an urgent and important reason for accelerating the process for various tasks post-registration such as amend, assign or renew the mark, the applicant may submit a written application along with relevant supporting documents. If the Trademark Office believes that the application meets the relevant conditions, the examination will be conducted on an expedited basis.

(7) Improve the user experience of the Trademark OfficeÕs website.

The file locations, updates and stability of the Trademark OfficeÕs website are improved. The application status inquiry function now also contain information such as “receipt of returned letters” to facilitate an applicant to better track the progress of the application.