Bad faith trademark filings in China

In China the number of trademarks filed is the highest worldwide. Comparing, in the Benelux 22,000 trademarks are filed per year, whereas an astounding 7.7 million trademark applications were filed in China last year. To combat the practice of trademark hijacking, a new law has been passed in China to deal with bad faith filings. The law will enter into force on 1 November 2019.

Under this new law, trademark registrations that are clearly not going to be used are regarded as filings in bad faith. Another example of bad faith filings are the variations on well-known foreign trademarks. The Chinese trademark authority will refuse applications of this kind and the applicant may even receive a warning or a fine. There will also be an opposition period, during which rights’ holders have the opportunity to object to such applications. A nullification action can also be initiated afterwards. Because the register in China is quite full, also with trademarks that have been registered with a different purpose (e.g. to sell them), the new legislation offers possibilities for foreign companies to get their trademarks registered in China.


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MENTOS has been selling chewing gum under the name MENTOS PURE FRESH for several years. In order to protect her rights MENTOS has registered the following trademarks: the logo MENTOS PURE FRESH, the logo MENTOS PURE FRESH 3 and a figurative depiction of the word PURE. Defendant sells chewing gum under the trademark DENTYNE PURE and has registered its logo as a trademark. Infringement or not?
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