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China passes new trademark law to curb infringements

China's legislature today passed a new trademark law to crack down on infringements and ensure a fair market for trademark holders.

After three readings over the past two years, the revised law was passed at the bimonthly session of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature.

The new law raised the compensation ceiling for a trademark infringement to 3 million yuan (US$500,000), six times the previous limit.

The revision was based on comments from lawmakers, experts and representatives of businesses and trademark agencies from China and abroad, said Wang Qing, an official with the Legal Affairs Commission of the NPC Standing Committee.

The new law added that trademark agencies are not allowed to accept entrustment if they know or should know that their clients are conducting a malicious registration or infringing on the trademark rights of others.

Agencies violating the law will face fines and a bad credit record filed by industrial and commercial authorities. Those involved in serious cases will have their businesses suspended.

The new law also offers protection for renowned trademarks, giving owners the right to ban others from registering their trademarks or using similar ones -- even if such brand names are not registered. But the words "renowned trademark" shall not be used in promotions or advertising.

The draft also changed clauses regarding the examination period of applications for trademark registration to make it more efficient.

China adopted its Trademark Law in 1982 and made amendments in 1993 and 2001.

As of June this year, China held the world's largest number of registered trademarks and valid trademark registrations, at 8.17 million and 6.8 million respectively, according to latest official statistics.


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