China Finally Willing To Crack Down On Trademark Infringement
December 25, 2012

China Will Start Cracking Down On Trademark Infringement

Michael Harper for — Your Universe Online

It´s a different world in China, one where intellectual property and trademarks aren´t as closely guarded as they are in the United States.

Apple in 2012 had one such issue with trademark infringement in China as the bankrupt and failing Proview Technology took Apple to task over their use of the word “iPad” to sell their popular tablet. Apple later succumbed to mounting legal pressure and paid Proview $60 million to settle the deal, arguably far more than they should have paid, but far less than the $400 million Proview had been seeking.

Monday, Reuters reported that China is ready to take the issue of “malicious” trademark infringement seriously. In another recent case of such trademark infringement, former basketball star Michael Jordan sued a Chinese company for their illegal use of his name and jersey number to sell sportswear.

After a slew of such cases were taken to Chinese courts this year, the Chinese government has said they´re willing to change the laws in order to protect these trademarks. This change comes after continued requests from foreign governments to protect these trademarks and IPs.

The proposed amendment will grant protection to these foreign brands and trademarks and will even grant them the right to ban Chinese companies from using these trademarks. The new measures will even give foreign entities the right to ban those companies who may wish to register similar trademarks, even if the foreign trademark isn´t registered.

"The draft is intended to curb the malicious registration of trademarks," said news source Xinhua.

Xinhua is now saying the Chinese legislature will begin discussing these new amendments this week. The legislature did not provide any further details, such as when such legislation could pass.

Former Chicago Bulls star Michael Jordan sued a Chinese company in February for attempting to build a brand around the name which he is known by in China, Qiaodan.

According to the New York Times, this company had even been using Chinese names for Jordan´s children in order to sell jerseys and other sportswear. In a statement, Jordan had said he was “deeply disappointed to see a company build a business off my Chinese name without my permission, use the number 23 and even attempt to use the names of my children.”

The company was able to pull in $270 million in revenue through the first half of 2011, $45 million of which was profit.

Apple in July had finally settled with Proview Technology following months of legal battles over the use of the term “iPad.”

Proview had owned the iPad trademark to cover a product which they no longer made. Apple bought the trademark for $55,000 just before they released their game-changing tablet under the name “IP Application Development.” When the iPad was officially released, preview sued Apple, causing the release of the third generation iPad to be delayed until the matter had been settled.