With a record-high response rate to our 2020 client satisfaction surveys, the overall satisfaction score hit 94 out of 100 points. Our services were described as having "fast response", "knowledgeable recommendations" and "very happy experience".
We would like to thank each and every one of our clients who answered to this survey. We will take your suggestions and turn them into better actions.
AFD China will continue to improve our abilities to provide satisfactory and reliable services in the future.
On July 14, 2020, the 21st China Patent Awards were announced. AFD China's clients won one gold prize and one silver prize. We are honored to have assisted in full course from drafting, filing to granting of the awarded patents. We would like to take this opportunity to thank our clients for their trust and support along the way. Congratulations!
State Council Releases Legislative Work Plan for 2020
China's State Council released its legislative work plan for 2020. A total of 16 draft laws, including the revision to the Copyright Law, are proposed for deliberations by the National People's Congress Standing Committee.
Additionally, other IP-related legislative projects regarding administrative review, foreign investment law, clinical research and translational application of new biomedical technologies, are also covered by the annual work plan.
Draft Revision to Patent Law Submitted to NPC Standing Committee
The draft revision to the Chinese Patent Law was submitted to an ongoing session of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, China's top legislature, for a second review. It was first read in December 2018.
One of the highlights of this draft is to add patent protection for partial design of a product, which aligns with internationally-accepted practice.
To reflect the Phase One Agreement between China and the USA, an article regarding patent term compensation was included for delays in examination which is not attributable to the applicant.
Also, a new article was introduced to address the good faith principle. That is, patentees cannot use their patents to exclude or restrict competition. Where there is patent abuse, it needs to be governed by the Anti-Monopoly Law.
The draft is open for public opinion until August 16, 2020.
The China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) issues the Criteria on Determining Trademark Infringement, to provide guidelines on trademark enforcement, unify enforcement practice and enhance protection of trademark exclusive rights.
The Criteria contains 38 Articles, dealing with trademark use, same goods, similar goods, identical trademarks, similar trademarks, readily confusing, sales exemption, conflict of right, application of stay of trial, determination of right holder, among other things.
The CNIPA revealed that more than 683,000 invention patent applications were filed, and a total of 217,000 invention patents were granted, in China in H1 of 2020.
About 229,000 Chinese companies applied for patents, witnessing an increase of 32,000 compared with the same period last year.
Huawei Technologies has been granted 2,722 invention patents in China in H1 of 2020, taking the leader's position among Chinese mainland companies, followed by OPPO with 1,925 and BOE Technology Group with 1,432 patents.
By the end of June, the number of valid invention patents in China had reached 1.996 million. The average ownership of invention patents had also reached 14.3 patents per 10,000 people.
The number of valid trademarks had reached 27.414 million.
The scale of using geographical indications has gradually expanded. In H1, 322 companies were approved to use geographical indications, comparing to 116 approved in the same period last year.
Recently, a special nationwide action codenamed Sword Net 2020 campaign was jointly launched by the National Copyright Administration, Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, Ministry of Public Security and Cyberspace Administration of China, unveiling the curtain to crack down on online copyright infringement and piracy for the 16th time since 2005.
The campaign will last four months, from June to October, and focus on
- protection of audiovisual works
- cracking down severely on infringements including illegal filming and recording in cinemas, pirating activities in the short video field, and the spread of pirated film and television works through streaming media platform
- supervision of e-commerce platforms, social media platforms, knowledge-sharing platforms, and online literature, animation, cloud services, app markets and online advertising.
The Beijing High People's Court recently made a final judgment on the dispute between the US-based Chapter Four Company, which runs the apparel brand "Supreme" and Supreme Company over No. 17076038 trademark "Supreme and its figure" (trademark in dispute). Beijing High held that the trademark in dispute of Supreme Company and No. 14108746 trademark "Supreme" (reference trademark) of Chapter Four constitute similar marks used on similar goods such as clothing, upholding the TRAB (Trademark Review and Adjudication Board under the former State Administration for Industry and Commerce) ruling and rendering the trademark in dispute invalid.
The reference trademark filed for registration on March 4, 2014, has undergone trademark rejection and review proceedings, and was eventually approved for registration on January 21 this year, certified to be used on Class 25 goods such as clothing and hats (head-mounted).
The trademark in dispute was filed by Anglo-American Brand International Limited on May 29, 2015, certified to be used on Class 25 goods such as apparel and was approved for transfer to USNYC Inc. on May 20, 2018. It was transferred to Supreme Company on November 13 2018.
On October 20, 2017, Chapter Four lodged an invalidation request to the former TRAB over the trademark in dispute, claiming that the reference trademark constitutes a well- known trademark used on goods including clothing and hat (head-mounted), and the trademark in dispute and the reference trademark constitute similar trademarks used on the same or similar goods which damaged their previous copyrights, and the trademark in dispute was obtained by "other improper means for registration" prescribed by the Chinese Trademark Law.
On December 27, 2018, the TRAB held that the goods such as clothing on which the trademark in dispute was certified to be used have similar function and use with the reference trademark on which the reference mark was certified to be used, so they constitute similar marks used on the same or similar goods. The registration and use of the trademark in dispute does not damage the prior copyright of the reference trademark. The Anglo- American Brand Company has applied for the registration of the "Supreme" trademark on multiple classes. The trademark in dispute is deemed registered by other improper means. In summary, the former TRAB ruled that the trademark in dispute was declared invalid.
The disgruntled Supreme Company brought the case to Beijing IP Court, who held that the trademark in dispute and the reference trademark constitute similar marks used on the same or similar goods and the original applicant Anglo-American Brand Company registered the trademark by other improper means. The trial court rejected the Supreme Company's complaint.
Supreme Company then appealed to Beijing High People's Court.
Beijing High held that the coexistence of the two marks can easily mislead the relevant public to believe that the two marks originate from the same subject or that their providers have a specific connection, which constitutes similar trademarks used on the same or similar goods. In view of the fact that the case has determined that the application for registration of the trademark in dispute violates the relevant provisions of the Chinese Trademark Law, the Court will no longer comment on whether the trademark in dispute violates the relevant provisions of "other improper means for registration". In this connection, the appellate court denied Supreme Company's appeal and upheld the first-instance judgment.