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China’s new e-commerce law, which took effect January 1, 2019, threatens to upend the entire daigou business model. As we’ve written previously, daigou are individual shoppers who purchase goods overseas and then bring them back in their luggage for resale in China. Estimates of the value of goods brought into China this way each year ranges from about $6 billion to upwards of $100 billion. The new e-commerce law requires anyone who sells…
Like most countries, China has a use requirement for trademarks: to remain valid, a trademark must be used in commerce at least once every three years. But as we wrote in China Trademarks: When (and How) to Prove Use of a Mark in Commerce: Unlike the United States, China does not have an affirmative requirement to prove that a trademark is being used in commerce. You do not have to prove use for a…
As Bloomberg reported last week, China’s propaganda ministry (now in charge of all media-related activity in China) has approved an additional seven foreign films to play in China this year in excess of the 34 film quota. These newly approved films will play theatrically on a revenue-sharing basis, and include the animated films The Grinch and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and the John Cho thriller Searching. We have previously expressed our skepticism
In a recent Quick Question Friday, I addressed whether a trademark application for a color device (aka logo) should be in color or black-and-white. As I wrote, According to trademark practice in China, registration of a black and white device in China would protect the logo regardless of the actual color scheme used on the device, and for that reason we typically recommend our clients file an application for the black-and-white version of their…
Because of this blog, our China lawyers get a fairly steady stream of China law questions from readers, mostly via emails but occasionally via blog comments or phone calls as well. If we were to conduct research on all the questions we get asked and then comprehensively answer them, we would become overwhelmed. So what we usually do is provide a quick general answer and, when it is easy to do so, a link or…
The purpose of a trademark, from both a legal and branding perspective, is to identify the source of goods. It follows, therefore, that the best trademark is one that is both memorable and distinctive. You want people to associate your brand with your company, not confuse your brand with other brands. You also want to make sure that your brand is more than just a description of the product. The latter issue seems to trip…
A couple weeks ago, the online Chinese magazine Sixth Tone ran a story titled “China Founds Trademark Office to Protect Domestic Brands.” The gist of the story is that on Oct. 17, 2018, a new trademark office was established in Shanghai for the sole purpose of helping Chinese companies protect their intellectual property overseas: The Shanghai Trademark Overseas Protection Office will support Chinese companies in international copyright disputes by providing guidance, training, and…
In the entertainment industry, documenting a film’s chain of title is extremely important. It’s how you show that the putative owners of the film rights do in fact own those rights, and it is essential to securing “errors and omissions,” or E&O insurance. And because a film is comprised of a number of elements, a number of things must be documented, such as: (1) that the underlying rights to the source material were validly acquired,…
Last week, the Foshan Intermediate People’s Court awarded RMB 10 million (nearly $1.5 million) in damages to the well-known British luxury goods brand Alfred Dunhill, finding Chinese copycat brand Danhuoli liable for trademark infringement and unfair competition. The press coverage (which apparently took its cue from the PR release) trumpeted the size of the award and the groundbreaking nature of the victory. To an observer unfamiliar with China trademark practice, both of these claims…
Time for another entry in what has become a running series of posts about wine in China. Thus far, the series includes: China, Wine and Tariffs China Trademarks: Wine Labels in China China Trademarks – The (Mis)Classification of Wine I’ve written previously about the rampant counterfeiting of foreign wine in China, especially with well-known brands like Château Lafite, Château Latour, and Screaming Eagle. Because counterfeiting only comes to light when it is discovered by authorities…