Trademarks and China’s business reform agenda

Author:Zhang Mao
Position:Minister of the State Administration for Industry & Commerce, People’s Republic of China
SUMMARY

As the global economy shows signs of recovery and digital technologies continue to transform industrial and business landscapes across the world, innovation – and the intellectual property (IP) rights that protect it – remain key drivers of economic development.

 
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Within this context, trademarks play a crucial role, particularly when it comes to bringing new products to market and supporting business growth. Trademarks enable customers to identify the products and services a company offers and help the company distinguish its goods and services from those of its competitors.

Trademarks are one of a number of IP rights companies can use to protect their innovative assets, strengthen their competitive position, expand their market share and improve their bottom line. Steadily increasing awareness of the value of trademarks and brands among Chinese entrepreneurs is enabling them to boost demand for and realize the market value of their innovative products.

The Chinese Government sets great store on trademarks and brands. Since the implementation of its 2009 Trademark and Brand Strategy, China has achieved remarkable results, meeting and surpassing established targets at every turn.

Reform of China’s business environment is continuing apace, generating important gains in many areas. New enterprises are forming at an unprecedented rate, and growing awareness of the value of trademarks among businesses and the general public is fueling record-breaking use of the trademark system.

For the past 15 years, China has topped global rankings for trademark applications and registrations. In 2016, the number of trademark applications and registrations rose to 3,691,000, representing an annual increase of 28.35 percent.

All indicators suggest this upward trend will continue. In the first six months of 2017, the State Administration for Industry & Commerce (SAIC) received 2,276,000 trademark applications and processed 1,211,000 registrations, with 13,452,000 registered marks currently in force, including 3,625 registered geographical indications, collective trademarks and certification marks.

Moreover, in the same period, the number of trademarks owned per 10,000 market players rose to 1,448 from 1,074 in 2011 – a growth rate of 34.8 percent. In China today, there is one registered trademark for every 6.9 market players.

The rapid development of China’s trademark and branding landscape is the result of sustained reform of the country’s business environment made possible by extensive and shared efforts of the Government, enterprises and society as a whole. A number of factors account for this remarkable transformation.

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The Government’s drive to reform China’s business...

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