Abstract: The Chinese Trademark Office (CTMO) has recently strengthened legal enforcement for the protection of internet products and services by adding cloud computing, tablets, electronic readers, and websites for social connections, online banks, etc. to the latest Chinese Goods and Services Classification, which, however, does not clarify how to classify the App designed for the mobile internet.
Trademark registration in China shall apply to the Nice Agreement Concerning the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks (the "Nice Classification"). Every year the CTMO will make a new amendment to the Chinese Goods and Services Classification and in 2014 the CTMO revised the tenth edition of the Chinese Goods and Services Classification.
This revision to the Chinese Goods and Services Classification plays a vital role for Internet companies in strengthening the protection afforded to Internet services and suggesting that Internet companies renew the content of products and services applied on its standardized trademark application. My summary information and personal opinion related to the aforementioned added items of the internet and information technology industry are followed.
I Class 9: Protecting mobile internet apps, tablet computer, electronic reader
1. It deletes "computer software (recorded) 090591" but adds "computer software(downloadable) 090717". In my opinion, this is a revision for the rise of mobile internet. Another problem is that, however, smart-phones and tablet computers are not actual computers. Therefore, the apps on a smart-phone and tablet computer could receive protection from the specific service items provided.
2. It adds "tablet computer 090724" and "electronic-book reader 090718".
II Class 35: Protecting search engine optimization and clearing the category of providing business information via website.
1. It adds "pay-per-click advertisement 350113", "search engine optimization 350111", "website traffic optimization 350112" and other services related with search engines.
2. It adds "providing business information via website 350119" and "upgrading and maintaining data in computer database 350117" that once was included in Class 42. The composition of the category consisting of "website providing business information" was inconclusive previously, but now "website providing business information" could be classified into Class 35 for protection.
III Class 36: Protecting Online bank and website financial information
It modifies the "home bank 360072" into "online bank 360072" and adds "providing financial information via website 360113". Therefore, website providing financial information will now be considered as standard within Class 36.
IV Class 41: Protecting online music and video
It adds "providing online music (not downloadable) 410200" and "providing online video (not downloadable) 410201", which was once included in the service item of online game. This revision will consist of online music, online video and online games.
V Class 42: Protecting cloud computing and cloud storage
It adds many services related to cloud computing and cloud storage, including "remote data backup 420225", "electronic data storage 420226", "providing computer technology and programming information via internet 420227" and "cloud computing 420229".
VI Class 45: Protecting social networks
It adds "on-line social networks service 450218". Virtually, there is a service item "dating services 4500005"in the Chinese Goods and Services Classification. This revision will, however, move the classification "on-line social network service" more explicitly into Class 45.
In our experience, we find that it is important to select the correct goods and services category in applying trademarks. If one applies a false protection scope of the goods or services of the use of a trademark, it is really hard to protect its rights in an infringement case even if there is a trademark registration certificate. Therefore, trademark registrants should hire a professional service-oriented trademark agency to apply for trademarks, refraining from seeking small gains at great cost.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.