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New channels to speed up filings

Zhang Zhao
Updated: Aug 3,2016 8:01 AM     China Daily

A customer glances at trademarks on an advertising board at a supermarket in Nanjing, Jiangsu province.[Photo by Wang Qiming/China Daily]

The trademark application process is expected to be cut by at least three months thanks to additional channels which will be opened to the general public, according to a series of guidelines on convenient registration, recently unveiled by the State Administration for Industry and Commerce.

Previously it took about a year to register a trademark and applicants had a six-month wait following the filing of their application. At the end of this process, the national trademark office of SAIC would inform them whether or not their application had been successful.

In the event of a successful application, there would be an additional three-month examination period followed by a three-month public review.

The national trademark office will “optimize procedures and hire more employees to cut the time required in information input, and publicize the examination standards” to ensure that successful trademark registration applicants are notified within three months, said Cheng Meng, an official at the office, at a news conference on July 26.

Cheng said the main reason for the current prolonged period is the contradiction of surging trademark applications on the one hand and backward examination models on the other.

China has led the world in annual trademark applications for 14 consecutive years since 2002. There were 11.2 million valid trademarks in the country as of the end of June, accounting for one-third of the global total.

The guidelines proposed 22 measures to streamline the trademark registration process and improve trademark services and management. Electronic registration is a central measure by which the goals can be achieved.

In the past, only trademark agencies were allowed to apply for trademarks online, but in the future, the online service model will be open to all applicants, according to the guidelines. The services will include not only trademark application, but also renewal, transfer and cancellation.

SAIC will also commission its local branches to handle trademark filings so that applicants no longer need to travel to Beijing to file applications. The first two pilot offices opened last month in Ya’an, Sichuan province, and Taizhou, Zhejiang province, and more are planned.

Trademark examination centers will also be established nationwide later this year to share the duties currently handled by the Beijing center.

From next year, applicants will be able to file trademark applications online or at local trademark offices, according to the guidelines.

In addition, the trademark database will be open to other administrative agencies, such as the market supervision authorities, to improve trademark management.

Cui Shoudong, deputy director of the national trademark office, said the guidelines focus on the current challenges facing trademark registration and management.

“We should first solve the problem of the slow process,” he said. “We will encourage eligible local authorities to become trademark handling offices, and instigate electronic registration methods.”