Under the Chinese Trademark Law, the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board (“TRAB“) decides on review procedures filed against decisions by the Trademark Office. Up to date, these TRAB review procedures were strictly written procedures. Even though the possibility of holding a hearing was written into the existing legislation, hearings were in practice never held.
This has finally changed. The China State Administration for Industry & Commerce (“SAIC“) has recently issued its Rules on TRAB Hearings in Trademark Review Cases (the “Rules“), which came into effect on the date of their publication, 4 May 2017.
We are hopeful that this new possibility to request a hearing will be beneficial for the Chinese trademark practice. Indeed the industry has been lobbying for this for quite some time. It is hoped that by hearing and cross-examining the evidence and witnesses of the parties, the TRAB should be able to improve the quality of its decisions. For the parties, hearings may also help to resolve more complex trademark cases quicker and out of court, through administrative proceedings. However, the question remains how the TRAB will apply these Rules in practice, given its already large case backlog. We will keep you posted.
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