Legal Issues concerning Trademark during the Exhibition in China

In recent, more and more Chinese companies is developing their business outside China and thereby brings more chances for exhibition. Meanwhile, with the rapid economy development on China, the exhibition sponsored by China becomes more and more influential. Such exhibitions have become the key occasion for the release of new product and technology of the companies in China and abroad, which followed by many legal problems with the IPR matters are the most prominent ones. Bridge IP Law Commentary today will give our analysis on the issues related to the exhibition trademark.

I. The trademark priority in exhibitions

China is the signing country of Paris Convention, by which a priority shall be granted to any trademark showed on the exhibition; accordingly, the Article 25 of China Trademark Law regulates that

Where a trademark is first used for goods in an international exhibition on sponsored or recognized by me Chinese Government, the applicant for the registration of the trademark may enjoy the right of priority within six months from the date of exhibition of the goods. 

By the above regulation, the application of priority shall first meet three conditions: 1) the priority is only applicable for those exhibitions sponsored or recognized by Chinese Government; 2) the trademark shall be the first used one; 3) the period of such priority shall be 6 months. Therefore, Bridge IP Law Commentary would like to alert the companies that not all the international exhibitions be the one applicable in trademark priority for their “international” is just for social publicity and propaganda. And for this reason, it’s suggested and essential for the companies to check with the sponsor of the priority application scope for the avoidance of trademark squatting when no priority could be enjoyed.

III. The handling on the trademark infringement on the exhibition

It’s not rare for the exhibition participants encountered with IPR dispute, and meanwhile for the short duration, the quality of the exhibition and the interest of the participant may be influences shall such disputes could not be handled in time. On that accountant, the Measures for the Protection of Intellectual Property Rights during Exhibitions (the “Measures”) was promulgated in 2006 mainly focusing on the regulation on the exhibition IPR infringement. By such Measures, the sponsor shall establish a special IPR complaint institution, furthermore, the staffs from the local IPR administration will also be sent for the dispute settlement.

So the complaint to the sponsor is accessible to the participant on the trademark infringement, the verification on which could lead to the punishment decision by local IPR administration immediately. On the other hand, such decision could also be the evidence in the civil lawsuit in the future, and it has high proof effect.

However, judging from the our experience as the legal counsel of the exhibition, due to the less professional of the participant, the IPR administration of the sponsor may find no way to handle the dispute for the inadequacy or the defect of the complaint material.

Since then, we suggest such disputes or matters related shall be handled by legal attorneys, who could analyze the infringement from the professional aspect, aid in the draft of the document demanded and negotiate with the sponsor, and that is effective to stop the infringement in short time. Meanwhile, the participation of the lawyer may draw the attention from the sponsor which is possibly accelerate the settlement of the dispute or the matters related. And what’s more important, only the patent law in China explicitly provides that the offering for sale could constitute the infringement, therefore, the show of the infringing trademark could constitute the trademark infringement while the compensation could hardly be supported. To prevent the perception by the infringer, it’s suggested to collect the evidence in secret through the notary office with the aid of legal attorney to prepare the evidence of the lawsuit. And such notarized material could be the proof to the strengthened liability and increased compensation.

At last, either the complaint by own staff or through attorneys, Bridge IP Law Commentary remind the attending companies to prepare the trademark certificate and the power of attorney to personnel on the exhibition in advance which may avoid the settlement delay for the procedure defect. It’s no doubt that the well-known international exhibition has been the platform for companies to introduce itself to the world, while in our opinion, the IPR protection plan shall be made ahead in order that the loss could be prevented and the dispute could be settled in time.

Other posts on our website:
1.How to apply the trademark registration in China?
2.How to improve the success rate of trademark registration in China?
3.The Copyright Registration in China Could Be FREE?
4.China Copyright Protection Term Longer than EU’s?
5.How to apply the preliminary injunction in patent lawsuit? 

Author: Mr. Luo Yanjie
Attorney-at-law of DeBund Law Offices
Co-author: Mr. You Yunting
Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Bridge IP Law Commentary
Partner & Attorney-at-law of Shanghai DeBund Law Offices
Email:, Tel: 8621-5213-4900,
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Bridge IP Law Commentary is a website focus on the introduction of commercial laws in China, especially the intellectual property laws. All the posts here are our original works. And all news or cases referred here are from public reports, and our comments or analysis are of due diligence, neutrality and impartiality, representing our own opinions only and are our original works. You may contact us shall you have any opinions or suggestions.

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