On December 29, 2023, the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) issued the Regulations on the Management of the Collective Trademark and Certification Trademark (the Regulations).
The Regulations contain 28 provisions with key points including but not limited to:
Management requirements on the registrants and users
The registrants of the collective trademarks, and certification trademarks shall implement the following acts to perform trademark management duties and ensure the quality of goods: (1) in accordance with the use of management rules to allow collective members to use the collective trademark, licensing others to use the certification trademark;(2) timely disclosure of information on collective members and users, and rules of use management; (3) checking whether the use of the collective members and users is in accordance with the rules of use management;(4) checking whether the goods using the collective trademarks and certification trademarks comply with the quality requirements of the use management rules;(5) timely cancel the qualifications for use of collective trademarks and certification trademarks of collective members and users that do not comply with the rules of use management, and fulfill the procedures for change and filing.
Strengthening the brand building
The registrants of the collective trademarks and certification trademarks, the collective members, and users shall strengthen the brand building and perform the following duties: (1) to strengthen self-discipline, establish product traceability and monitoring mechanisms, and make risk control plans to maintain the image and reputation of the trademark brand; (2) to encourage the adoption or development of advanced standards to meet the market demand, and establish a good image of the trademark brand;(3) to combine local characteristics and resources, explore the cultural connotation of the trademark brands, formulate development plans for the trademark brand construction, carry out publicity and promotion, and enhance the value of trademark brands.
Legitimate use of geographical names contained in collective/certification trademarks
The trademark shall not have the right to prohibit the following acts of legitimate use of geographical names contained in a collective/certification trademarks: (1) use in an enterprise trade name;(2) use in the ingredient lists, packaging bags, etc. to indicate the place of origin of products and their raw materials; (3) use in commodities to indicate the place of origin or geographical source; (4) use in the details of commodities and commodity attributes in the Internet platforms or stores to indicate objectively the geographical source;(5) other legitimate use of geographical names. The legitimate use of geographical names in the collective/certification trademarks mentioned above shall comply with the purpose of factual description and in line with commercial practice, and shall not violate other legal provisions.
Further, in case others use the words, such as geographical names and commodity names involved in the collective trademarks and certification trademarks in terms of food and beverage, in a factual descriptive manner in special snacks, dishes, menus, window displays, and merchandise details on the Internet, and such use does not lead to misleading the public, it is a legitimate use and the trademark owner shall have no right to prohibit such use.
In accordance with the Trademark Law, a collective trademark means a sign which is registered in the name of bodies, associations or other organizations to be used by the members thereof in their commercial activities to indicate their membership of the organizations. A certification trademark means a sign which is controlled by organizations capable of supervising some goods or services and used by entities or individual persons outside the organization for their goods or services to certify the origin, material, mode of manufacture, quality or other characteristics of the goods or services.
According to the CNIPA, the Regulations herein is made to better comply with the Trademark Law which was fully amended in 2014 and partially amended in 2019, as well as strengthening the management and guiding the registration and use of the collective/certification trademarks.
The Regulations will come into effect on February 1, 2024.