Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Supreme People's Court's 2-18-08 Judicial Explanation on Trademarks, Enterprise Names, and Other Prior Existing Rights

(The following is my attempt at translating the SPC's latest Judicial Explanation regarding the issues/conflicts between registered trademarks, enterprise names and other prior existing rights. If I have mis-interpreted any part of the Judicial Explanation, please kindly point out in your comments. Thanks! In addition, I will write a following post on the impact of this Judicial Interpretation.)

People's Republic of China The Supreme People's Court Notice
Law Explanation (Fashi)(2008)(3) Provisions on Several Issues in Hearing Cases Regarding the Conflict between Prior Existing Civil Rights and Registered Trademarks & Enterprise Names adopted on February 18, 2008 by the Supreme People's Court Judicial Committee meeting No. 1444. It is hereby announced that it will go into effect on March 1, 2008.

February 20, 2008中华人民共和国



To correctly resolve civil disputes involving the conflict between registered trademarks & business names and prior existing civil rights, these provisions are hereby instituted in accordance with the PRC Civil Procedure Law, General Principles of Civil Law, the PRC Trademark Law and the PRC Anti-Unfair Competition Law, as well as trial practices.


Article One Provided that requirements under Article 108 of the PRC Civil Procedure Law are met, People’s Court should accept cases filed by plaintiffs on the basis that defendants’ use of letters, graphics in defendants’ registered mark violated Plaintiffs’ existing copyright, patent right in packaging design, rights in business names, etc.

Where Plaintiff brings a lawsuit on the ground that another’s registered mark used in approved categories goods/services are similar or identical to her mark, People’s court should refer plaintiff to relevant administrative bodies for resolution, in accordance with Article 111 (3). However, where plaintiff bring a lawsuit on the grounds that another’s use of its registered mark is beyond the categories of goods/services registered for, or where another uses a registered mark by transforming its distinctive features, disassembling it or re-configuring it, the people’s court shall accept such cases.

第一条 原告以他人注册商标使用的文字、图形等侵犯其著作权、外观设计专利权、企业名称权等在先权利为由提起诉讼,符合民事诉讼法第一百零八条规定的,人民法院应当受理。


Article Two Where Plaintiff brings lawsuits, pursuant to PRC Anti Unfair Competition Law Article 5 (3), on the ground that another’s use of a business name is same or similar to her prior existing business name, which use is sufficient to cause consumer confusion as to the source of the goods/service, the people’s courts should accept such cases.


Article Three The people's court shall, in accordance with the plaintiff's claim and the nature of controversial legal relationship under civil law, and in accordance with the Civil Causes of Action (Provisional), ascertain the cause of the conflict in civil disputes between registered trademarks or enterprises and prior existing civil rights, and apply appropriate law accordingly.

第三条 人民法院应当根据原告的诉讼请求和争议民事法律关系的性质,按照《民事案件案由规定(试行)》,确定注册商标或者企业名称与在先权利冲突的民事纠纷案件的案由,并适用相应的法律。

Article Four Where the use enterprise name complained of infringe on the exclusive right of registered marks, or constitute unfair competition, the people's court, in accordance with the plaintiff's petition and specific circumstances of the case, may assign civil liabilities, such as enjoining defendant from using such name, correcting such use, etc.

第四条 被诉企业名称侵犯注册商标专用权或者构成不正当竞争的,人民法院可以根据原告的诉讼请求和案件具体情况,确定被告承担停止使用、规范使用等民事责任。


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