Combating Trademark Squatting in China: New Developments in Chinese Trademark Law and Suggestions for the Future

Sunny Chang | January 1, 2014

Abstract: This Note explores the phenomenon of trademark squatting in China. Several characteristics relating to the development of Chinese Trademark Law, such as the first-to-file and multi-class application system, as well as the inherent complexities of the Chinese language, contributed to creating an environment amenable to trademark squatting. New developments in China, including a December 2011 opinion from the Supreme Court and a recent amendment to Chinese Trademark Law, signal that the country is moving forward towards stronger protection of intellectual property. However, these changes will likely not be enough to prevent trademark squatters from targeting well-known foreign trademarks, since they still do not address key factors that allow trademark squatting to persist. Until China addresses these concerns, practitioners and businesses should be aware of the difficulties of protecting trademarks in China, and they should take measures to intelligently guard their intellectual property.