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Trademark Registration: Continues Its Rapid Growth

  • 2014-05-16

        In 2013, Trademark Office of SAIC actively faced challenges, innovatively created mechanisms, comprehensively strengthen managements, and deeply explore internal potentials to make trademark registration work constantly achieve remarkable results.

      Trademark Applications Grew to a Historical Record

      In 2013, Trademark Office accepted 1.881,5 million trademark applications, a year-on-year increase of 14.15%, a record high, ranking the first in the world for 12 consecutive years. The accumulative number for applications from 2009 to 2013 was 6.85 million, more than the total of the previous 28 years (which was 6.39 million). The consecutively high growth in trademark applications had been continued.

      In 2013, the electronic applications through internet reached 1.175,8 million, accounting to 62.49% of the total applications received in the year, which was a 2.3% increase compared with 2012. It could be seen that electronic applications through internet has been taken by more and more applicants and became main method for trademark applications. By December 2013, there were accumulatively trademark applications 13.241,3 million, registrations 8.652,4 million and registrations still in force 7.237,9 million.

      In 2013, Trademark Office accepted 34,667 applications filed for oppositions, a decrease of 4.58% compared with the previous year, which showed the ratio of acceptance to preliminarily approved trademarks was highly improved; 119,324 for renewal, an increase of 11.54%; 177,239 for modifications of registered items, an increase of 16.46%; 113,364 for changes in ownerships, an increase of 7.36%; 21,414 for trademark cancellations and annulments, an increase of 28.47%; 29,438 for record of trademark licenses, a decrease of 4.31%; and 53,008 for Madrid trademark international registrations, an increase of 9.1%.

      In 2013, Trademark Office examined 1.424,6 million trademarks, an increase of 16.09% compared with the previous year. The examination period was kept in 10 months. Trademark Office approved 996,724 trademarks for registration, 936,750 for preliminary approval, an increase of 14.53%. It totally refused 262,185 trademark registrations, an increase of 14.63%, partially refused 225,744 registrations, an increase of 25.07%. The increase rate of partial refusal was higher than that of preliminary approval and total refusal. It ruled 43,526 trademark oppositions, a decrease of 40.49% (the examination of oppositions was getting harder, because of the regaining of ruling through reasoning). Trademark opposition’s examination period was strictly controlled within 12 months.

      In 2013, Trademark Office processed 181,991 applications for modifications, an increase of 20.86% compared with the previous year; 114,607 changes in ownerships, an increase of 12.43%; 122,685 renewals, an increase of 22.02%; 123,415 trademark annulments and cancellations, an increase of 9.36%; 34,998 record of trademark licenses, an increase of 29.89%; 582 record of special signs, an increase of 41.95%. It examined 42,743 classes of Madrid international registrations, an increase of 2.41%, and processed 27,611 modifications, renewals, changes in ownerships, cancellations, limitations and corrections, an increase of 41.54%.

      In 2013, Trademark Office registered and preliminarily approved 436 Geographical Indications collective marks and certification marks, an increase of 16.89% compared with the previous year. By the end of 2013, there were accumulatively 2190 Geographical Indications collective marks and certification marks. It registered altogether 1.447,3 million trademarks in relating to agriculture products.

      Trademark Registrations Concentrated in Several Classes

      In terms of the goods and services applied for trademark application, Class 25 (216,446 applications), 35 (155,783), 9 (114,976), 30 (103,217) and 29 (76,207) as defined in the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purpose of the Registration of Trademarks were remained in the list same to the one of top five classes for applications in 2012, which indicated that clothing, business service, apparatus and equipment, food were the main fields where the trademark are applied.

      In terms of the goods and services designated for trademark application by foreign applicants (including Madrid trademark applications for territorial extension), Class 9 (14,107 classes), 35 (10,882), 25 (9,905), 3(6,816), and 5(6,488) as defined in the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purpose of the Registration of Trademarks were among the top ones with the largest number of applications. The statistics indicated that apparatus and equipment, business service, clothing, cosmetics and washing matter, pharmaceuticals were the main fields where the foreign trademarks were applied.

      The top five provinces (municipalities) with the largest number of domestic applications were the same as last year, which were Guangdong (318,789 applications), Zhejiang (178,978), Beijing (133,510), Jiangsu (110,097), Shanghai (106,374), altogether accounting for 48.91% , same as last year’s ratio, of the total domestic applications. Provinces with over 40,000 applications also included Fujian, Shandong, Hong Kong, Sichuan, Henan, Chongqing, Hebei, Anhui, Hunan and Shanxi, which added 4 more provinces than last year.

      The top five provinces (municipalities) with the largest year-on-year increase were Shanxi (39.82% increase), Tibet (37.08%), Hong Kong (28%), Anhui (27.57%), Hebei (23.99%).

      The top five provinces (municipalities) with the largest registrations still in force were Guangdong (1,126,595 registrations), Zhejiang (864,161), Beijing (467,259), Jiangsu (459,132) and Fujian (369,736).

      The applications of 12 western provinces totaled 257,861, a year-on-year increase of 13.18%.

      The top five provinces (municipalities) with the largest number of applications for international registrations were Guangdong (503 applications), Zhejiang (409), Shandong (233), Jiangsu (199) and Fujian (159).

      The top ten countries or regions with the largest number of foreign trademark applications in China (including Madrid trademark applications for territorial extensions) were the USA (30,875 applications), Japan (16,604), Germany (10,765), European Union (10,252), France (9,629), the United Kingdom (8,627), Republic of Korea (8,331), Italy (6,655), Swiss (5,485) and Australia(3,541). Trademark applications from the above ten countries or regions accounted for 74.75% of the total foreign applications in China.

      New Fruits Have Been Achieved in Trademark Examinations

      Trademark Office of SAIC took all kinds of measures simultaneously, significantly encouraged and reasonably adjusted staff by perfecting mechanism and enforcing management. The examination period was kept in ten months successfully, which laid a solid foundation for keeping examination period within the limitations required by Trademark Law.

      Trademark Office objectively analyzed situations and actively faced challenges. In 2013, it faced unprecedented pressures and challenges in trademark examinations.

      One is the constant and significant increase in trademark applications. In 2010, Trademark Office successfully achieved the goal of solving backlogs in 3 years perfectly. The trademark examination period was shorten into 1 year, with the condition that the trademark applications were over 1 million, reached 1.072 million. In the recent 3 years, as the economy developing and the social’s trademark awareness improving, the trademark applications grew quickly and reached over 2 million. The contradiction between the rapid increase of trademark applications and shortage of trademark examination staff became more and more serious.

      Second is the continuously increased difficulty in trademark examinations. The registered trademarks increased quickly in recent years, which lead to the big growth of data in basic trademark comparison database. The difficulty of examination and search grew as well. The work of examining 1 trademark was as difficult as examining 2.2 trademarks in 2008. To meet the requirement of new Trademark Law that allowed the multiple-class applications, Trademark Office had opened examinations to all classes for each examiner. In addition to International

      Classification of Good and Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks changing year by year, the difficulty for the examiners judging the similar relationship of goods and services and the examination standard grew in the same time.

      Third is the new Trademark Law brought new requirement to the examination time limits. The new law that adopted on August 30, 2013, gave a clear rule to the examination period, namely the preliminary examination period for Trademark Office is nine months; the publication period for oppositions to preliminarily approved applications is three months; the time limits for Trademark Office to make a ruling after investigating and verifying the opposition application is twelve months. (If there was some special need for delaying, after approved by the administrative authority for industry and commerce under the State Council, the period could be extended for another six months.) Further, it also set the time limits for trademark declaration of invalidation and examining cancellation. Since 2008, the examiners had been always working overload. There were over 450 trademarks examined by an examiner every month on average, which was as three times as the work done by one examiner in developed country. Under the pressure of unceasingly enlarged trademark applications numbers and continuously increased trademark examination difficulties, it would be a hard task and serious challenge for Trademark Office to further shorten the examination period to nine months as required by the Law.

      Trademark Office steadily improved the working mechanism, and excavated the potentials. Facing the serious situation, under the leadership of the Leading Party Group of SAIC, Trademark Office continuously raised the working efficiency by improving working mechanism, excavating the potentials. Firstly, according to the requirement of new Trademark Law, Trademark Office examined the whole working procedure in the office, wrote the Working Procedure of Trademark Examination, nailed down the time limit of all procedure, optimized and combined them. Secondly, it enhanced the training and management of assist trademark examiners. It adopted integrated train in all kinds of forms such as providing courses, field visiting, communicating in symposium, summarizing and so on. It made the Plan to Adopt Incentive Mechanism to Assist Trademark Examiners, which significantly encouraged them to work with enthusiasm and gave the system insurance to meet the time limits for examination regulated by new Trademark Law. Thirdly, it properly allocated officers, and enriched the trademark examiners. Since November 15 2013, Trademark Office transfer officers from opposition divisions who had less pressure on time limits to trademark examination divisions to reduce the pressure of trademark examination, and got great achievement. The trademark examination in November and December got a year-on-year increase of 21.08% and 55.28% respectively.

      Trademark Office strengthened the interior management and raised the working efficiency. By strengthen the interior management, Trademark Office gave a full play to the initiatives of all the staff and assist trademark examiners, carried forward the spirit of hard work and perseveringly, successfully completed the task of trademark examinations. Firstly, double-nodes management was introduced into the trademark examination management, namely target task node management and latest examination period node management. The target task node management is to make it clear the aim of task quantity of trademark examination and task trademark examination period by the end of 2013 and by the end of April 2014. The latest examination period node management is to set the monthly examination progress, and makes sure that the aim task could be finished every month. Secondly, it introduced special report system of trademark examination, according to which the quantity of trademark application, trademark examination, unexamined trademark application and trademark examination period progress would be reported monthly, to keep the examination progress. Thirdly, the trademark examination quality management was strengthened. In the trademark examination, Trademark Office continued to attach equal importance to quality and quantity, actively perfected the supervision system of trademark examination, accelerated the development of trademark examination quality checking system, explored the way to set up long term mechanism of trademark examination quality supervision, fastened the trademark examination progress. Forthly, the information construction was accelerated, which gave technical support to the improvement of examination efficiency. Trademark Office actively promoted the construction of Phase III of its automatic trademark examination system and information reform project of trademark examination and reviewing. The intelligent level in trademark examination system was improved.

      Services Qualities Have Been Practically Improved

      Taking the opportunity of promoting the CPC's Mass Line Study and Practice Campaign, Trademark Office had been improving the training and management level and establishing the sense of purpose and service for staff members working in trademark service window under the requirements of "for the people, pragmatic and free from corruption" to improve the service quality of Trademark Registration Hall, which aimed at masses satisfaction chiefly. In 2013, Trademark Registration Hall had accepted 105 thousands direct trademark applications, 31.1% increased than last year. Trademark Office Zhongguancun branch had accepted 51 thousands direct trademark applications, 86.4% increased than last year.

      Improving management practices and enhancing the management ability. In accordance with the Window Service Regulation for Industrial and Commercial Administration Institution and The Action Plan of Special Campaign to resolve the issue of "Four difficulty" for the Window Service Department of Industrial and Commercial Administration Institution released by SAIC, Trademark Office classified window service criteria and formulated specific working regulation, service standards and assessment provisions. Through formulating Window Service Regulation for Trademark Office Zhongguancun branch, the working performance of Zhongguancun branch had been further improved, which consolidated and improved the good image of the window of SAIC to support local economy development.

      Optimizing service processes and improving service facilities. Making Registration Hall Service Quality Evaluation System to play great role in strengthening supervision, staff members of window position significantly enhanced their service awareness, attitude and quality. Trademark Office was constantly improving service settings in Trademark Registration Hall to provide a safe and comfortable environment for applicants.

      Responding to what public concerned and resolving significant issues. To resolve significant issues raised by masses such as agent attracting customer irregularly in the Registration Hall, Trademark Office coordinated related departments actively to govern comprehensively. Under the new situation of trial implementation of new business license for self-employed individuals which no longer record information about business scope in some districts, Trademark Office studied and adjusted the application criteria in time to ensure that applicants could submit their applications smoothly.

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