Newsletter June 2021
Last month, the Beijing Patent Attorneys Association announced the rating results of the year 2020 for patent agencies in Beijing. AFD China was once again rated as an AAAAA-level patent agency. AFD China has been rated this top level since 2017 and has been continuously optimizing workflow, improving work efficiency, and making efforts to create a paperless office.
The revised patent law taking effect on June 1, 2021 aims to solve these nagging problems once for all, being of great significance in protecting legitimate interests of right holders, boosting innovators' confidence in patent protection and fully inspiring innovation in society.
For details of the revision, please see
On June 1, 2021, the revised copyright law went into force. When the amendment was launched for the third time in 2011, the target was clarified to make a new law aligned with the digital economy and the reality and with an eye on the world and the future. The ten-year revision journey fully demonstrates the open and scientific legislative spirits, meets the needs of the digital age and appropriately connects with the civil code and the international copyright treaties.
For details of the revision, please see
According to the annual report of the National Copyright Administration of China (NCAC), the NCAC registered a total of 5,039,543 works whose authors filed claims to copyright in 2020, an increase of 20.37% from the previous year. The “Sword Net Action”, an annual campaign aimed at cracking down on online piracy and copyright infringement, was carried out last June, when 3,239,400 links to pirated content were removed and 2,884 infringing websites and apps were shut down.
In the report, copyright registration, the certifying of model cities and companies of copyright protection, and the convergence of the country’s three big networks (the Internet, telecoms networks, and TV broadcasting networks) are listed as three major constituents of the infrastructure of digital copyright protection. Blockchain and DRM (digital rights management) are indicated to have become part of the toolkit for copyright owners and copyright law enforcement entities. Having been widely adopted in the country’s court system, blockchain has ensured the security and legality of the generation, collection, storage, and transmission of digital evidence. Among the blockchain-based pilot programs nationwide, the “Tianping Blockchain” program initiated by the Beijing Internet Court has become an exemplary instance.
A digital network of copyrighted works is being built for their better utilization. China Written Works Copyright Society (CWWCS) has signed 279 agreements with more than 100 publishing houses and cultural companies to deal with the licensing of copyrighted works for compilation in 350 categories of books and the payment of their authors’ remuneration in a one-stop manner. The licensing of the right of communication through information network and the right of compilation of these copyrighted works have generated 75.4% of the revenue of these authors. The Music Copyright Society of China (MCSC) has received 408 million yuan as licensing fees, about half of which has been generated from the licensing of the right of communication through information network. There are 185 copyright infringement cases filed in 2020, of which 25 cases are about the infringement of the right of communication through information network.
Hong Kong has approved its first-ever standard patent under a new system aimed at encouraging original patents as the global financial hub also aims high in innovation and technology.
The invention, involving the use of artificial intelligence to manage inventory in an e-commerce system, was granted earlier this week under the original grant patent (OGP) system, according to the Intellectual Property Department of China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government.
Launched in December 2019, the OGP system creates a direct route for innovators to seek standard patent protection in Hong Kong with a maximum term of 20 years.
Under the old but still existing "re-registration" route, patents must first be approved by three designated patent management authorities outside of Hong Kong. Otherwise, inventions can only have short-term protection for at most eight years.
By the end of May, the government has received a total of 426 OGP applications, of which 33 percent were submitted by Hong Kong residents or enterprises and 67 percent from non-local applicants.
The CNIPA released a notice on June 9, 2021 allowing foreigners to take the Chinese Patent Agent Qualification Examination.
To participate, a foreigner must
- have full capacity of civil conducts,
- have the status of permanent resident*,
- have patent attorney/agent qualification from another country or region*,
- can read and write in Chinese, and
- work or study in Beijing Zhongguancun Science Park, Suzhou National Hi-Tech District, Jiangning Nanjing or Guangzhou Development District.
When signing up for the exam, the foreigner will be asked to upload the scanned copy of the documents proving the asterisked items.
Registration for the exam will open on June 28 and the exam will take place on November 6&7, 2021.
In 2014, Whisper, a feminine care brand owned by the US-based Procter & Gamble, released a sanitary pad product made of new liquid materials. In 2018, No.34075766 "液体卫生巾" trademark (trademark in question) was filed for registration by Procter & Gamble in China, but its registration on sanitary pad and health pad products was rejected successively.
Recently, Beijing High People's Court in its final judgment denied Procter & Gamble's appeal and held that the trademark in question used on the designated goods would mislead consumers in the raw materials, ingredients and quality, making it deceptive and should not be registered.
Procter & Gamble submitted an application for registration of the trademark in question to the former Trademark Office (TMO) of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, requesting certified to be used on Class 5 goods such as sanitary pads, health pads, period-proof undergarments and tampons.
The TMO held that the trademark in question consists of the Chinese word "液体" which means liquid, and will lead consumers to take it as a description of raw materials, ingredients and quality while used on the designated goods. Therefore, the TMO refused the registration.
The disgruntled Procter & Gamble then pled the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) for review, but would only suffer another setback. The company then brought the case to Beijing IP Court.
After hearing, Beijing IP Court in its first-instance judgment dismissed Procter & Gamble's claim. Unwilling to just move on, Procter & Gamble then appealed to Beijing High People's Court and submitted the application for narrowing the range of the goods, specifying that the goods the trademark in question was designated to be used on will be limited to sanitary pad and health pad products made of liquid materials and giving up its registration on other goods. In addition, Procter & Gamble and its subsidiaries promised to only use the trademark in question on sanitary pad products made of new liquid materials.
Beijing High held that the trademark in question "液体卫生巾" may lead consumers to take it as a description of new materials, ingredientss and quality while designated to be used on sanitary pad and health pad products made of liquid materials and has deceptive meaning, violating Item 7, Paragraph 1 of Article 10 of the Chinese Trademark Law. In this connection, the Court rejected Procter & Gamble'a appeal and upheld the first-instance judgment.