The Chinese legislature recently passed comprehensive reforms to the country’s trademark laws. The changes should make it easier for U.S. businesses to protect their brands.

The amendments reflect comments from lawmakers, experts and representatives of businesses and trademark agencies from China and abroad, according to Wang Qing, an official with the Legal Affairs Commission of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee. Chinese lawmakers have been considering trademark reforms for more than two years.

Below are some of the most significant changes:

  • The potential financial penalties for trademark infringement will increase to 3 million yuan (about 500,000 U.S. dollars), which is six times the previous limit.
  • Owners of “renowned” trademarks will be able to prohibit others from registering their trademarks or using similar ones, even if brand names are not yet registered.
  • Principles of good faith will apply during both the registration and use of trademarks
  • Trademark agencies cannot accept entrustment if they know or should know that their clients are conducting malicious registration or committing trademark infringement.
  • The most serious infringers could face credit score penalties and suspension of their business licenses.

The new laws are slated to take effect on May 1, 2014.

Sources: IBN Live and Global Times

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