On 23 March 2021, the China National Intellectual Property Administration (“CNIPA”) issued a notice on the "Special Action Plan to Combat Malicious Squatting of Trademarks" (the "Campaign"). The Campaign will be launched from March 2021 and implemented in three phases: March for the mobilization and deployment phase, April to October for the organization and implementation phase, and November to December for the summary inspection phase.
The focus of the Campaign is to combat trademark squatting, the seeking of improper benefits and disruption of the trademark registration procedure, which may cause great adverse social impact. These malicious acts include:
- Squatting on the names of major national or regional strategies, activities, policies, projects, science and technology projects;
- Squatting on words and signs related to public emergencies such as natural disasters, major accidents and disasters, major public health events and social security events, which harm the public interest;
- Squatting on the names of high profile events, exhibitions and signs;
- Squatting on the names of administrative divisions, mountains and rivers, attractions, buildings;
- Squatting on the common names of goods or services, industry terms, and other public commercial resources;
- Squatting on the names of public figures, well-known works or highly popular characters;
- Squatting on trademarks or other commercial signs of others that hold high popularity or strong significance, damaging the rights and interests of the other party;
- Violating Article 10 of the PRC Trademark Law and other violations of public order, ethics and customs, which cause significant negative or negative social impact on the political, economic, cultural, religious, ethnic or other interests and public order of China;
- Where trademark agency knows or should know that the client engaged in the above acts, but still accept its commission or other improper means, disrupting the normal order of trademark registration; and
- Any other acts that obviously violate the principle of good faith.
The Campaign will comprehensively use a mix of legal sanctions, administrative guidance and credit restrictions, including the promotion of details on administrative penalties for trademark squatting to be included into the National Enterprise Credit Information Publicity System and intensifying efforts to crack down on trademark agencies engaging in trademark squatting.