From 1 January 2013, the Chinese Trade Mark Office will allow
trade marks to be registered in relation to "retail and
wholesale services for pharmaceutical, veterinary and hygienic
preparations and goods for pharmaceutical purposes" in class
35, which includes retail or wholesale services provided online or
through brick-and-mortar stores. This is a significant change in
Office practice, where previously trade mark owners were unable to
register their marks in China for "retail services",
regardless of the goods being sold. Historically, this made it
extremely difficult for owners to obtain trade mark protection for
their retail and wholesale services.
China uses a "first to file" trade mark system where
the first to apply for a trade mark obtains the registration. From
experience, it is also a country where third parties with no
apparent interest in a trade mark frequently apply to register
other people's marks - often with a view to selling the
registration at a later date. For these reasons, we strongly
recommend that trade mark owners that are interested in
"retail and wholesale services for pharmaceutical, veterinary
and hygienic preparations and goods for pharmaceutical
purposes" in China takes steps to register their trade marks
at the earliest opportunity, so that they have the best chance of
being the "first to file".
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