On the World Intellectual Property Day (4.26), Supreme People's Court held a public hearing between Michael Jordan and the Trademark review commission of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (“Commerce”), the third party Qiaodan Sports Inc (Qiaodan is the Chinese translation of Jordan that accepted widely by Chinese) over the trademark issue which has been lasting for about 5 years. The whole trial lasted 4 hours and the case was not sentenced in court.
In this protracted trademark battle, Michael Jordan had lost a whole series of cases (78 cases) and never even won once. Thar gives the alarm for other foreign products which want to enter Chinese market. I, as a Chinese lawyer, believe that the lessons we can learn over this trademark case are as follows:
1. In China, the one who register a trademark first will get the trademark rights ( which is the platform can carry the brand into commercial world). It is different from the US legal system that the one who use the trademark first will naturally get the trademark rights, no matter being registered or not;
2. Due to the above rule, foreign products should bear in mind that when you want to enter Chinese market, it is necessary to register your trademark first, in order to avoid these trademarks registered by other individuals or enterprises who are not related with the brands at all .
3. It is not enough just to register an English brand in China, because the English brand is not commonly used in Chinese public field.So the Chinese pronunciation and the Chinese literal translation of the English trademarks should be registered together with the English trademarks. Such as Michael Jordan's case,“Qiaodan”is the literal translation of “Jordan” in Chinese language. If you miss this part, it means someone may take this advantage in the future.
4. In Michael Jordan's case， if Michael Jordan raised the opposition and litigation at the early stage of “Qiaodan” brand development, it will be much easier for him to get the verdicts . Nowadays， more and more international brands are coming to China , a lot of trademarks are being registered everyday. So you need to always pay attention to what will impact to your brand. If you can notice any identical or similar trademarks are submitted to different categories in time, you can raise the opposition as soon as possible, in order to prevent these trademarks from becoming valid.
Now, Zhejiang Chession Law Firm are providing a kind of monitoring service for free for those international brands.
We will also give a general introduction about Chinese trademark registration procedure:
1、 When you file a trademark in China, it will take about 4 months before you get formally accepted by the Chinese Trademark Bureau;
2、 After being formally accepted, it will take another 9 months to go for the Trademark Bureau to decide whether to give out formal notice of publication;
3、 During the publication period, any people can raise objections based on the rules set in the Trademark Law that these trademarks do not fit to be registered as trademarks;
4、 If the Trademark Bureau decides to formally allow the trademark to be registered, then if anyone wants to raise opposition, it will need to go to the Trademark Review Committee and wait for their opinions;
5、 If the Trademark Review Committee confirms the trademark can be registered or could not be registered, the related parties who thought their rights are being harmed can file the case in the related courts in Beijing ( where the governing courts are based). And the case will formally go into the judicial system for final decision.
Therefore, if your want to register you foreign trademark in China , we will be at disposal and render out the best service possible for the protection of your trademarks.