The trademark owners have been hoping for an expedited examination process, making it possible for the trademarks to get registered quickly for protection in China particularly when the trademarks need quick protection in light of the pressing need for the businesses to carry out the vital marketing plan and operations and put ongoing extremely grave trademark counterfeiting and infringement to an end and the urgent need for the governments to protect public interest involving trademark use.

The good news is that on January 14, 2022, CNIPA (China National Intellectual Property Administration) announced Measures on Fast-Track Examination of Trademark Applications for Trial Implementation (the Fast-Track Measures).

The Fast-Track Measures, which take effect on January 14, 2022, have been formulated to improve trademark examination, adequately accommodate the differentiated needs of trademark owners and expedite examination of trademarks, use of which involves national interest, public interest or major strategies for regional development.

I: Trademarks Eligible for Fast-Track Examination

According to Article 2 of the Fast-Track Measures, requests for fast-track examination can be filed for the trademarks used under the following circumstances:

  1. The trademark is related to the names of major national or provincial projects, major programs, major scientific and technological infrastructure, major sport events, major exhibitions etc. and it needs urgent trademark protection;
  2. During the period of major public emergencies such as major natural disasters, major accidents and disasters, major public health emergencies, major social security emergencies etc. and use of the trademark is directly related to response to such public emergencies;
  3. It is necessary to facilitate high-quality economic and social development and advance the implementation of the Guidelines for Building a Powerful Intellectual Property Nation ;
  4. It is of practical significance for national interest, public interest or major strategies for regional development.

II: Formality Requirements for Fast-Track Examination

The trademarks for fast-track examination need to meet the following formality requirements:

  1. Unanimous of consent of the applicants;
  2. Electronic application
  3. Word marks only
  4. Non-collective trademarks or non-certification trademarks
  5. Designated goods or services are closely related to the public emergencies outlined in Article 2 of the Fast-Track Measure and are standard terms listed in the Classification of Goods and Services
  6. No priority claims

Meanwhile, the paper copies of the following documents need to be submitted to CNIPA:

  1. Application Form for Fast-Track Trademark Examination
  2. Documents demonstrating the eligibilities for Fast-Track Trademark Examination outlined in Article 2 of the Fast-Track Measures
  3. Letter of Recommendation issued by the competent authorities under the central and state government , the provincial government or the general office of the provincial government

III: Procedure for Fast-Track Trademark Examination

CNIPA shall complete the fast-track examination within 20 working days after accepting and approving the request for fast-track examination.

During the fast-track examination, CNIPA may terminate the fast-track examination and conduct the trademark examination according to the routine procedure if one of the following circumstances occurs.

  1. The trademark application requires amendments, clarifications or corrections, or there are trademarks filed on the same date undergoing examination;
  2. After filing the request for fast-track examination, the applicant submits request for suspension of trademark examination;
  3. There are other circumstances making fast-track examination impossible.

After the decisions have been made on the trademarks subject to

fast-track examination, the relevant parties may lodge oppositions

against the trademarks preliminarily approved and published on the

Trademark Gazette or file request for review of total rejection or partial


CNIPA will introduce separate measures on fast-track examination of trademarks, which are likely to cause significant adverse effects.

The Fast-Track Measures are subject to interpretations by CNIPA and the Trademark Office under CNIPA is responsible for conducting the fast-track trademark examination.

IV: Summary

Fast-track trademark examination is available before the trademark authorities in jurisdictions across the world such as USPTO (US Patent Office), EUIPO (European Union Intellectual Property Office), JPO (Japan Patent Office), UK-IPO (UK Intellectual Property Office ), CIPO (Canadian Intellectual Property Office), KIPO (Korean Intellectual Property Office). Special and specific conditions and requirements are set for trademarks for fast-track examination before these authorities.

Fast-Track Trademark Examination in the World


General Requirements


The USPTO only grants the petition for expedited examination under the following special circumstances:

1. Infringement exists of the mark;

2. Litigation is pending; or

3. The registration is a basis to secure a foreign registration.


There are two main conditions for a Fast Track application to be successful:

1. The applicant needs to select the designed goods and services from a database of terms that have already been accepted by the EUIPO. The

2. The applicant needs to pay upfront: the examiners can only start examining application once payment is complete. Subject to prompt payment and provided there are no deficiencies at the moment of filing or during examination of the application, the application will proceed via Fast-Track examination.


The trademark meets the following requirements:

1. The list of goods or services, designated in a trademark application at the filing stage, is taken from the Examination Guidelines for Similar Goods and Services, the Ordinance for Enforcement of the Trademark Act, or the International Classification of Goods and Services (Nice Classification). In case of even slight differences, the application will not undergo the fast-track examination;

2. The list of goods or services has not been amended upon filing and prior to the commencement of the examination by the JPO;

3. The trademark is traditional;

4. The trademark application is not an international one.


UK-IPO offers fast-track opposition process. The procedure will apply not only to double identity cases but also where there is a likelihood of confusion. The opponents will be required to provide proof of use of an earlier mark (where necessary) at the time of filing the opposition. The number of earlier trademarks that may be used as the basis of opposition will be limited to three. A limit will be placed on the amount of evidence that can be used in a fast-track proceeding and the time in which that evidence must be filed. If these conditions are not met, then the opposition will revert to a standard opposition.


Trademark owners seeking to fast-track their Canadian applications now have the following two options.

1. Expedited examination in special cases

In the first option, the applicant needs to file an affidavit which establishes one of the following scenarios to support the petition for expedited examination in special cases:

  • a court action in Canada involving the mark is expected or underway;
  • the applicant is in the process of combating counterfeit products featuring the mark at the Canadian border;
  • the applicant requires registration of the mark to protect its IP rights on online marketplaces (for example, to enroll in the Amazon Brand Registry when the trademark is registered in Canada); or
  • the goods or services are medical goods or services that prevent, diagnose, treat or cure covid-19.

If an affidavit is filed which establishes one (or more) of these scenarios, the trademark application is likely to be examined within a week or two from the filing of the affidavit.

2. Fast-track using pre-approved list

The second option does not require an affidavit.

Currently, examination is fast-tracked automatically (without the need for an explicit request) by about six to 10 months when all the goods and services in an application are listed in the Canadian Goods and Services Manual. If the goods or services in the application as originally filed do not comply with the Goods and Services Manual, but are amended to comply after filing, examination will also be fast-tracked from that point.


Fast-track examination can be based on several statutory grounds (the Korean Trademark Act and its Enforcement Decree) and conditions as follows:.

1. The applicant is currently using the trademark or is about to use the trademark soon in Korea. In this case, the actual use of the trademark or the plan to use the trademark in the near future must be proved by objective evidence.

2. If the applicant's trademark is appropriated by an unauthorised party, it is possible to request fast-track examination by providing objective evidence such as a copy of the cease-and-desist letter or a copy of the preliminary injunction petition, etc.

3. Fast-track is also available when the applicant for a trademark receives a warning letter from a third party as to the use of his or her mark, or receives an observation brief (based on the third party's prior application/registration).

4. If the owner of a mark failed to renew the registration, he or she can request fast-track examination with respect to the same mark and designated goods.

5. It is possible to request fast-track examination when the applicant submits results of the prior mark search conducted by a professional search agency designated by KIPO.

Fast-track examination is also available in many other countries and introduced particularly after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic to offer timely, speedy and sufficient protection to the businesses involved in offering pharmaceuticals, medical devices (such as diagnostic tests, ventilators), or medical protective equipment (such as sanitary masks for protection against viral infections, disposable gloves for medical purposes), medical services or medical research services for the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, or cure of COVID-19.

At present, it takes about 9 months for a trademark to undergo examination and mature into registration at CNIPA in China, provided that everything goes well during the examination process. However, the process can take longer if the trademark encounters amendments, clarifications or corrections and/or subsequent opposition proceedings.

After the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, CNIPA has conducted fast-track examination for trademarks used on the goods or services to be launched to cope with the emergencies caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

CNIPA has implemented the Fast-Track Measures on a pilot basis. The Fast-Track Measures are also relevant to the foreign brand owners if the they have trademarks to be used under the circumstances in Article 2 of the Fast-Track Measures and needing quick and urgent protection, for example, the brand owners are participants in major national or provincial projects, major programs, major scientific and technological infrastructure, organizers or sponsors of the major sport events, major exhibitions etc. or users of trademarks on goods or services launched to help tackle major public emergencies in China. The foreign brand owners need to coordinate and work closely with the local counsels, their subsidiaries and/or business partners in China to prepare and obtain the necessary documents such as the Letter of Recommendation from the competent authorities at the state or provincial level to support the requests for fast-track trademark examination.

For the brand owners and trademark practitioners, it is worthwhile monitoring the implementation and practice of the Fast-Track Measures and considering filing the request for fast-track examination to benefit from the Fast-Track Measures when the occasion arises.

Fast-track examination for opposition or invalidation proceedings is not included in the current Fast-Track Measures. Hopefully, CNIPA may include oppositions or invalidations as well as trademarks (1) being infringed; (2) subject to pending litigation; and/or (3) needed for a foreign registration in the revised Fast-Track Measures when fast-trademark examination for such proceedings and trademarks is highly necessary and particularly determines the outcome of the trademark infringement litigations pending at the courts.

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.