Judicial recognition of well-known trademarks

By Simon Tsi and Gao Yan, Chang Tsi & Partners

Until 2001, the PRC operated a one-track system for the recognition of well-known trademarks, under which well-known trademarks were recognized by administrations for industry and commerce. After 2001, people’s courts also began to recognize well-known trademarks, giving rise to a two-track system that includes both administrative and judicial recognition of well-known trademarks.

司义夏 Simon Tsi
Simon Tsi
Managing Partner
Chang Tsi & Partners

As compared to administrative recognition, the judicial recognition of well-known trademarks has the following features.

Timeliness: trial times are usually six months at first instance and three months at appeal to produce a final decision.

Authority: a people’s court has final authority to adjudicate in a legal dispute, and a judgment rendered by it is final.

Multiple forms of protection: during a court procedure, it is possible, by asserting that a trademark is well-known, to demand that an infringer halt infringement; compensate for losses; destroy infringing products, machinery and equipment used to manufacture the infringing products; eliminate the effects of infringement; and meet the court costs and reasonable expenses incurred by the plaintiff in halting infringement.

Enforceability: if a defendant refuses to implement a judgment of the court, the rights holder can apply to a people’s court for enforcement.

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Simon Tsi is managing partner and Gao Yan is a partner at Chang Tsi & Partners.

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