A new ground to defend bad faith trademark registration – CNIPA rules that new trademark application should reasonably yield to prior trademark right if the applicant has full awareness of other’s prior trademark
Trademark squatting has been a common occurrence in China for many years, and even been a kind of “business” by trademark squatters, which has caused huge troubles to brand owners. It is not the case, as ordinary people might think, that all types of trademark squatting can be regulated by the explicit provisions of existing laws, otherwise the phenomenon would not be so difficult to eradicate. Recently, the Trademark Review Department of the China National Intellectual Property Administration(CNIPA) held, in the “Decision on the Request for Invalidation Declaration of the “LOVESAC” Trademark under No. 17962803″ and the “Decision on the Request for Invalidation Declaration of the “LOVESAC” Trademark under No. 17962891″, that the registrant of the disputed trademark, knowing the existence of the applicant’s trademark, should reasonably avoid applying for this mark, and thus supported the brand owner’s request for invalidation of the trademark registrations of the squatter, even the goods or services are dissimilar. We understands that this view and the application of the law reflects the strengthening of the current efforts to combat trademark squatting. This article stress the principle of good faith, which is stipulated in the Article 7 of Trademark Law, should be obeyed in trademark registration. In the actual cases, however, the provision of this article is often regarded as a principle clause and not directly applied. By contrast, it is indirectly applied by the application of Article 44.1 of the Trademark Law.