Keywords: guidelines, trademarking, China,
Trade Mark Office, identical, similar, state name,
In July 2010, the PRC Trade Mark Office issued new guidelines on
examination of trade marks comprising
"中國" (China) or using the prefix
"國" (State) ("Guidelines"). The
Guidelines, effective from 28 July 2010, serve to standardise
examination practice of trade marks bearing reference to
"中國" (China) or
No trade mark shall be accepted for registration if it is
identical or confusingly similar to the state name, national flag,
national emblem, military flag or medal of the Peoples'
Republic of China. Trade marks which are identical or confusingly
similar to foreign state names, national flags and emblems likewise
shall not be accepted for registration, unless with the consent of
the relevant overseas government.
Trade marks comprising "中國"
(China) in combination with other elements may only be accepted for
registration if all four conditions below are satisfied:
The establishment of the applicant has been approved by the
State Council or its authorised body;
The trade mark and the applicant's corporate name or its
abbreviation as approved by the State Council or its authorised
body should be consistent;
The trade mark and the applicant has a close and corresponding
The applied for goods or services should be consistent with the
applicant's approved scope of business.
Trade marks using the prefix "國" (State) in
combination with the generic name or description of the applied for
goods shall be refused registration on one or more of the following
Causing an exaggerative promotional effect hence a deceptive
Falling short of a distinctive character;
Causing bad influence.
Trade marks using the prefix "國" (State)
but not in combination with the description of the applied for
goods shall be examined on a case by case basis and if it is likely
that the mark may be descriptive of the quality or characteristics,
or if the mark may be deceptive or cause unfair competition to
disrupt the order of the market, or if the mark may cause bad
influence politically, registration of the mark shall be
In general, trade marks comprising
"中國" (China) or using the prefix
"國" (State) will be examined with extra
caution and upon extensive and serious consultation with the trade
mark bodies under the State Administration for Industry and
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and/or Mayer Brown LLP. All rights reserved. Mayer Brown is a
global legal services organization comprising legal practices that
are separate entities ("Mayer Brown Practices"). The
Mayer Brown Practices are: JSM, a Hong Kong partnership, and its
associated entities in Asia; Mayer Brown International LLP, a
limited liability partnership incorporated in England and Wales;
and Mayer Brown LLP, a limited liability partnership established in
the United States. The Mayer Brown Practices are known as Mayer
Brown JSM in Asia.
This article provides information and comments on legal
issues and developments of interest. The foregoing is not a
comprehensive treatment of the subject matter covered and is not
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