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With internet courts in first Hangzhou, then Beijing and Guangzhou, the trend is set also for the specialized IP courts in China to deal remotely with the review application, evidence, cross-examination, and verdict. The objective of this remote trial system is to reduce the litigation burden of the parties and improve the efficiency of the trademark review process.

On 17 December 2018, the Beijing Intellectual Property Court dealt remotely with the hearing on the TRAB’s refusal of the registration of the mark of the London-based fashion house “JW ANDERSON”: plaintiffs and defendants could conduct the process remotely via the internet.

In addition to audio-visual interactivity, the court applied artificial intelligence technology such as face recognition and intelligent voice transfer (for example speech to text, speaker identification).

Source: online version of the People’s Daily, see here.

So, what happened to the JW ANDERSON case?

The court held that the goods between the cited mark and applicant mark are similar; clothing and wedding products respectively, and the marks have the same composition and share a similar logo. If the two trademarks coexist in the same market (the applicant mark was used on Taobao and Jing Dong (JD.com) websites), this leads to a likelihood of confusion as to the source of the goods.

The evidence submitted by the applicant is not sufficient to prove that the applied trademark has obtained distinctive features that can be distinguished from the cited trademark by its use. Therefore, the application for registration of the trademark was rejected.

See here.

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Intellectual Property Singapore Office (IPOS) reports that on 20 September 2018, “China’s Vice Premier Han Zheng and Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, IPOS’ enterprise engagement arm – IP ValueLab – signed a MOU (see Annex A: areas of cooperation) with the Administrative Committee (KCAC) and Sino-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City Investment and Development Co. Ltd (GKC Co) to set up the “International Intellectual Property Innovation Service Centre” in the Sino-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City (SSGKC).

The MOU will link the innovation ecosystems of both countries more closely to support the translation of ideas and IP into products and services for the region, and provide a platform to connect IP expertise within the government and private sectors from both countries, tapping on Singapore’s experience in building IP skills to set up an IP college in Guangzhou. The Centre will also enable China’s enterprises to gain access to ASEAN and other key overseas markets through Singapore by taking advantage of established platforms for expedited IP application processes into the region.”

See more information here

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U.S. president Donald Trump has accused China of causing a trade deficit and engaging in several unfair practices related to the acquisition of American intellectual property and technology. The latter part was corroborated by the USTR Report of 22 March 2018, see here.  It was alleged that China forced foreign companies to transfer IP in order to achieve its “Made in China 2025” (中国制造2025) project to dominate the following industries domestically and compete internationally:

  1. Advanced Information technology 
  2. Robotics
  3. Aerospace equipment
  4. High-tech ships
  5. Railway equipment
  6. Energy saving
  7. New materials
  8. Medical devices
  9. Agricultural machinery
  10. Power equipment

Now, the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) puts China’s IP trade position into perspective. In the first half 0f 2018 China was a net importer of IP and pays 19.268 billion US dollar in royalties to foreign companies (up 52.5 percent year-on-year) for research and development. It received 2.737 billion US dollars in IP royalties (up 62.1 percent year-on-year) especially for the export of computer software license fees. Statistics of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange.

On 1 June 2018, the EU requested consultations with China concerning certain measures imposed by China pertaining to the transfer of foreign technology into China, see here. On 23 March 2018, the US requested consultations with China concerning certain measures pertaining to the protection of intellectual property rights (China accpted the requests of the EU and Japan to join the consultations), see here.

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