𝗜𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗻𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝗮𝗹 𝗥𝗲𝗴𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀 (“𝗜𝗥”) 𝗦𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗲𝘀 𝗣𝗮𝗿𝘁 𝟯/𝟲 – 𝗦𝗵𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱 𝗳𝗼𝗿𝗲𝗶𝗴𝗻 𝗯𝗿𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗼𝘄𝗻𝗲𝗿𝘀 𝗱𝗲𝘀𝗶𝗴𝗻𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗮𝗻 𝗜𝗥 𝗶𝗻𝘁𝗼 𝗖𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗮 𝗼𝗿 𝗮𝗽𝗽𝗹𝘆 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗮 𝗱𝗼𝗺𝗲𝘀𝘁𝗶𝗰 𝗮𝗽𝗽𝗹𝗶𝗰𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻?
As China implements the International Registration (IR) system and is a member of the Madrid Agreement and Madrid Protocol, foreign brand owners are entitled to extend IRs into China. The commercial needs of each brand owner will determine whether IRs or a domestic application should be chosen.
In this part of the series, our Partner, Valerie Suen, will discuss the various aspects that foreign brand owners may consider when making the decision:
Scope of protection: China implements a unique subclass system where similar items in a Nice Class are grouped into a subclass. Many foreign brand owners are unaware of this system and their IRs do not cover all subclasses in a Class. This can lead to gaps in protection and hijacker marks may be accepted despite having an IR extended into China.
Examination standards: IRs designating China are often examined by a separate team of examiners. As these examiners see more foreign brands, different citations or objections may be raised when compared with a domestic filing.
Challenges: Brand owners are informed of non-use cancellations in China through WIPO. As a local agent is not notified, this may lead to delays in receiving notifications and adverse cancellation decisions may be issued against the IR extended into China before a brand owner is aware.
Enforcement: Certificates are not automatically issued for IRs extended into China. Brand owners will need to apply to the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) for a registration certificate. This can cause issues for foreign brand owners who need to litigate or enforce their rights in China or satisfy requirements set out by e-commerce platforms. For any enquiries about International Trademark Registration, please feel free to speak to our partner Valerie Suen or counsel Vivian Or!”