Recent headlines have focused on one of the China Trademark
Office's ("CTMO") trademark publication. In June
2016, the CTMO published the mark, (Application No.17451054; Class
39, covering services, such as transportation logistics), for
opposition. The applicant is Ningbo Shengbang International
Logistics Co., Ltd. Do you see any problems with the publication of
Many IP people, and now major newspapers, have pointed out that
the mark is quite similar to the State Intellectual Property Office
of the P.R.C.'s mark, . That's right, the CTMO
published a mark that is similar to the Chinese Patent Office's
logo, even though it is not registered. Unfortunately, we don't
know whether to laugh or cry.
We will analyze provisions of the Chinese Trademark Law that
govern the decision of whether to publish the mark, :
Article 30: Where a trademark to be applied for registration is
in nonconformity with the relevant provisions of the Law, or it is
identical with or similar to the trademark of another person that
has, in respect of the same or similar goods, been registered or
preliminarily approved, the Trademark Office shall refuse the
application without announcement.
Article 30 does not apply to the published mark because SIPO
does not have any marks in their own name, not to say the prior
mark over similar services in Class 39.
Article 10: The following signs shall not be used as
1) Those identical with the names and signs of central state
organs, names of the specific locations thereof, or those identical
with the names or device of landmark buildings;
SIPO's logo is a sign "of central state organ."
However, Article 10.1.1 does not apply because the published mark
is not "identical" to SIPO's mark.
8) Those detrimental to socialist morals or customs, or having
other unhealthy influences.
The examination criterion explained that Article 10.1.8 includes
the following criteria:
Detrimental to socialist morals: such as "Kill them,"
The published mark is not detrimental to socialist morals.
Having negative influence on politics
Same or similar to the leaders' names of States, regions or
international politics organizations;
Detrimental to national sovereignty, dignity and image;
Numbers bearing political meaning, such as
Same or similar to the leaders' names of terroristic
organizations, cults, or gangs.
The published mark does not have negative influence on
Detrimental to race, dignity, or feelings
The published mark is not detrimental to race, dignity or
Detrimental to religious faith, religious feelings, or folk
The published mark is not detrimental to religious beliefs.
Same or similar to the names or signs of political parties,
governmental organizations, social associations, etc in China
SIPO is a governmental organization and the published
mark is similar to SIPO's logo. The CTMO examiner clearly
should have rejected the published mark under Article
Same to the names of position in political organizations, or
names of administrative positions and titles in army in China
This criterion does not apply.
Same or similar to the patterns, names or symbols of legal
tenders in each country
This criterion does not apply.
The question is – how did the CTMO overlook such a reason
to reject the mark? Sure, the specific examiner to this case could
have been new. But in this day and age, where people can work
remotely from home, we think the CTMO ought to join this new age
and improve their examination method. Currently, it seems the CTMO
is simply relying on examiners' own memory and paper
For those of you who were looking forward to an opposition
action against the published mark, we are sorry to report that
Ningbo Shengbang International Logistics Co., Ltd. has
"voluntarily" withdrawn their trademark application.
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guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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