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Clearer protection of well-known trademarks

A new court interpretation aims to achieve consistency in recognising and protecting famous trademarks in civil disputes relating to trademark infringement and unfair competition

Issue: June 2009

Keywords (click to search): intellectual property trademarks IP well-known trademark trademark infringement unfair competition

The Supreme People's Court issued its Interpretation on Several Issues Concerning the Application of the Law on Trials of Civil Disputes Involving the Protection of Well-known Trademarks (最高人民法院关于审理涉及驰名商标保护的民事纠纷案件应用法律若干问题的解释)  on April 23 2009; it came into force on May 1. The Interpretation contains several features that will be of particular interest to brand owners.


Recognition of well-known trademarks

The relevant trademark authorities and the courts will not recognise the well-known status of a trademark unless an interested party makes a definitive claim for such recognition in a trademark dispute case.

    Further, the courts should only determine the well-known status of a trademark if such recognition is necessary and if the injured party's interests cannot be protected through other legal remedies. The recognition of well-known trademarks is considered necessary in the following types of civil disputes:


(i) unauthorised use of a trademark on (a)...


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