An Unregistered Trademark can be Licensed to Another Party for a Fee


Abstract: An unregistered trademark may lawfully be licensed to another person. If any third party had registered the trademark, the licensor’s actions will constitute a breach of license contract. Except where the licensor has committed obvious fraud, the validity and effectiveness of such a license contract upon unregistered trademarks cannot be denied.

(By Luo Yanjie) Generally, a trademark in a trademark license should be registered before it is licensed to any other party. However, in today’s post, we will discuss a particular case there the trademark licensed was unregistered at the time the license was concluded. After being heard by two courts and the Supreme Court, such a trademark license contract was ruled to be valid. The following is our analysis.


How to Legally and Properly License Trademarks in China ?

The trademark license, as one of the means of using trademarks, has, in practice, encountered many unexpected disputes due to illegal and improper use. How then should one legally and properly license trademarks? And, what may benefits will the rights holder gain after going through the administrative procedures? This essay summarizes the author’s opinions on these issues.

I. How to make the trademark license record

(By Albert Chen) According to the Measures for Recording Trademark Licensing Contracts (“Measures”), the rights holder, either the owner of the trademark or the licensee, or the trademark agency representing these parties shall apply for recordation of the trademark license. If the licensors are foreigners or foreign companies, however, the record must be handled by trademark agencies. In the application, the applicant shall submit the licensing contract recordation application, a duplicate of the licensing contract, and a copy of the trademark certificate. If the documents are in foreign languages, translation shall also be provided.


An International Trade Dispute with Trademark Parallel Import Involved

By Lear Gong

The author recently handled a lawsuit involving trademark parallel import. The case itself was not complicated: a famous American bedding design company (“US Company”) holds trademark A in both China and Japan. The US Company licensed a Shanghai home furnishing company (“Shanghai Company”) to manufacture and sell products marked with trademark A within the territory of mainland China. A Japanese home furnishing company (“Japanese Company”) offered to import trademark A furniture from China to Japan, but demanded a written license from US Company. With the promise from the Shanghai Company, the parties concluded a sales contract, but the clause on the Shanghai Company’s duty to get a license from US Company was not clear. From the time the contract was concluded until the products were delivered, the Japanese Company always urged the Shanghai Company to present it the certificate of license issued by the US Company, but the Shanghai Company did not reply or present the certificate. The Japanese Company moved to terminate the sales contract based on failure to perform. The Shanghai Company then filed a lawsuit against the Japanese Company demanding that it continue performance of the sales contract.


Legal Problems on RIM’s Recent Combat on Trademark Infringement in China, I

The Conduct of Making and Selling Refurnished Mobile Phones Constitutes Crime of Counterfeiting Registered Trademarks?

After I read the article wrote by reporter Mr. Nie Shihai from the Judicial View on the First Case of Counterfeiting Trademark BlackBerry (the “Judicial View”) explaining and analyzing the decision made by the court from the aspect of jurisprudence, which is published in The China IP of 2011 February, I got contact with the editor due to my doubts about the sentences and finally I got the criminal sentences of the first instance and second instance. Through reading the sentences, I think the conduct of making and selling refurnished mobile phones doesn’t constitute the crime of counterfeiting registered trademarks for the following reasons.


A Compromise between Michael Jordan and Qiaodan Sports?

Reportedly (Note this report is in Chinese), Michael Jordan, the star sportsman of NBA, recently made a statement that Qiaodan Sports Co., Ltd. (“Qiaodan Sports”) is suspected of infringement on his right of name, and he had initiated the legal proceeding in the People’s Court of China. And by the late news, the Shanghai Second Intermediate People’s Court has accepted this case. It is reported (Note this report is in Chinese) that the Qiaodan Sports has been approved by the Issuance Examination Committee of Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE) to issue 11.25 million shares collecting RMB 1.06 billion, which would be issued publicly upon the future approval of China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC). (the image above is the trademark information retrieved from the trademark office of PRC)


Could There Be Any Improvement on Facebook’s Trademark Application Strategy in China?

The Extension of the iPad Trademark Battle: Proview Charged iPad Distributor GOME in China

According to Guangzhou Daily, the widely concerned iPad trademark conflict is oiled by the battle between Proview and GOME (HKEx: 00493), the distributor of iPad. And the new dispute has been brought to the Shenzhen Futian People’s Court and heard on 30th, December, 2011.

Shenzhen Proview claims itself the legal trademark owner of iPad, and as investigated, GOME sold the tablet with iPad trademark in its stores with no license from GOME, therefore, the misconduct of GOME shall be the trademark infringement. Thereby, Proview demands GOME stop selling the tablet, destroy all the marks or package related to the infringement, cancel any propaganda concerning iPad and take all the expenses on the investigation, evidence collection and other reasonable costs.


According to China Court’s First Instance Judgement, Apple Loses the iPad Trademark

According to the latest news, Shenzhen Media People’s Court judged on the iPad trademark conflict between Apple Inc (the “Apple”) and Proview Technology (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd. (the “Proview”), and Apple’s claim of Proview’s infringement against its trademark was rejected. That means the ownership of iPad trademark in China still belongs to Proview.

For this case, Bridge IP Law Commentary has expressed our opinions and analysis in the No “iPad” Chinese trademark right for Apple after payment in the transaction. And we anticipate that Apple may appeal to the higher court, while the case may end up in the consequence that Apple shall lose iPad trademark in mainland China shall the higher court maintained the judgment.


Introduction of China’s Legal System of Trademark Renewal

 Highlight: The first registered trademarks after the promulgation of the trademark law in 1982 will be in the renewal period soon, and most of such trademarks now are owned by foreign invested companies. In this essay, Bridge IP Law Commentary will give our advice and analysis on the trademark renewal.

The system of trademark application was first carried out in China in 1982 with the promulgation of the Trademark Law, by which the period of validity of a trademark registered in China is ten years from the day of approval and can be renewed, otherwise it will be cancelled. Therefore, most first registered trademarks are coming into the renewal period in 2012 or 2013, and among which the trademarks registered by foreign invested companies occupy a higher proportion due to the weak awareness of the trademark of Chinese enterprises then. For this reason, we would like to remind foreign clients to apply for trademark renewal timely during the renewal period and the grace period. Today, our website will introduce and analyze China’s legal system of trademark renewal.


No “iPad” Chinese trademark right for Apple after payment in the transaction, and our analysis.

—-the Key points to the trademark transaction under the frame of China laws

Highlight:Apple gets involved in the litigation against a Chinese company for the ownership of iPad trademark, which Apple has claimed the property from purchase. However, such conflict could be averted if proper preparation has been done before the trademark transaction.

Recently, the trademark conflict over “iPad” initiated by Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL, the “Apple”) against Proview Technology (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd. (the “Proview”) was heard for the third time on Shenzhen Intermediate Court. In the trial, Apple affirmed it owns the global trademark right of “iPad”, which was stroke back by Proview that such right in mainland China is exclusively held by Proview and the claimed transaction of Apple for the acquisition of such right has no permission or authorization from it, furthermore, Apple was also accused of its malicious purchase of the registered “iPad” behind the IP Application Development Company worldwide.