CNIPA Solicits Opinions on Trademark Examination Criteria

By Ms. Haoyu Feng, Lawyer at Chofn IP

On 11 June 2021, the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) released its newly drafted Trademark Examination Criteria, to solicit public opinions before 12 July 2021.

The CNIPA began to revise the Criteria in July 2020 and has extensively absorbed the opinions of the courts, local IP administrations, institutes, market entities, Trademark agencies, experts and scholars. The Criteria are composed of two parts, namely the newly added formality examination criteria which were not covered in the previous version, and the revised and improved substantiative examination criteria.

The formality examination criteria are newly added and provide systematic and full requirements in five sections—1) specific general requirements for all procedures; 2) key elements for searching goods or services, word and device marks; 3) post-grant procedures; 4) Madrid mechanism registration designating China; and 5) filing procedures, including fees, delivery, docketing, gazette etc.

The substantive examination criteria have been revised and improved in line with the amended the trademark law in six sections—1) general principles; 2) definitions; 3) examination based on Article 4, clarifying the circumstances of bad-faith applications without intention to use; 4) relative and absolute grounds for all types of marks; 5) consistent implementation of the criteria and special circumstances; 6) guiding cases, specimens, and explanation to strengthen the criteria’s guidance.