The SAIC has announced that it has amended its TM review and examination standards (“Trademark Review and Examination Standards”). The revised standards, with a date of December 2016, are available here. The revisions incorporate revisions to Articles 19, 50, 15.2, 1and 10 of the Trademark Law.
In addition, the Supreme People’s Court published a judicial interpretation on Certain Issues Related to Trials of Administrative Cases Involving the Grant and Confirmation of Trademark Rights 最高人民法院关于审理商标授权确权行政案件若干问题的规定. A public comment draft of the JI was circulated as early as 2014; the final version was released at a press conference on January 11, 2017. The JI clarifies the application of “adverse influence” in Article 10(1)8 and “other improper means” in Article 44(1) of trademark law and provides details on prior rights of Article 32 including copyright, naming right, trade name, amongst other provisions. The Financial Times has suggested that the JI is linked to the Qiaodan case , although as the Chinese media as noted, Qiaodan may also be seen as one of a series of cases providing more expansive relief against abusive registrations and recognizing more extensive related rights, such as naming rights and even merchandising rights. In an unrelated development, the SPC on January 7, 2017 listed the Qiaodan case as one of the top 10 civil and administrative cases for 2016.
The 2016 JCCT obligated China to “take further efforts to address bad faith trademark filings”, according to the recently released Joint Fact Sheet. The amended examination guidleines, JI, and related case developments, including the development of case law in IP, should help implement this commitment.