China Launches Online Trademark Search Tool

Recently, the Chinese Trade Mark Office launched an English language online tool permitting searching of trademarks registered domestically in the People’s Republic of China. Users may search by international trademark classification, keywords and other traditional search fields, but the effectiveness of the searches is yet to be determined and needless to say, some of the results are useless to people who does not read Chinese characters.

The tools available on the website provide a very general information in English about a registered mark and there do not appear to be any supporting documents available, such as trademark application or administrative proceeding history.  Still, this tool demonstrates China’s desire to move away from hostility toward intellectual property protections for foreign businesses operating in China.

In a related development, the Beijing First Intermediate People’s Court recently issued a research report discussing the rampant cyber-squatting practice in China of beating famous international marks to a registration in the hope of selling the marks later. The court also has issued some recommendations on what measures to take to discourages malicious use the the trademark registration system.