In the early 2000s, the Chines government took on a new mission: trademarking the name “China.”
The trademark office in Beijing, known as the National Intellectual Property Office, sought to protect the Chinese name, and in 2005 it issued a trademark to the trademark office.
After a decade-long effort, the government had a trademark for the name.
Now the Chinese government wants to trademark its own.
The trademark office is one of many government agencies, agencies and entities in China that have been trying to protect China’s trademark and brand, but the government’s approach is a step in the right direction, says Matthew Feltz, a trademark law professor at the University of Georgia.
The Chinese government is a strong defender of its name, he adds, but it is also willing to take steps to protect itself, too.
“It’s very hard to argue that the trademark law is working for China in terms of protecting the Chinese trademark and identity,” Feltbuch says.
Feltboch’s view is not shared by most trademark experts.
They say the Chineese government has not pursued any real trademarks in China, despite being the world’s biggest exporter of goods and services.
The government, for its part, has filed a number of trademark applications, which it claims will prevent competitors from claiming China’s brand, they say.
“The Chinese government has been very clear in saying it wants to protect its trademark and trademark rights,” says Matthew C. Shoup, a senior trademark attorney at Kirkland & Ellis.
Shortsighted, but not overly so.
The Chines official trademark office has filed numerous trademark applications over the years, Shoup says, though he doubts that the government has any plans to go after the names of other countries.
China’s official name is “Chinese” or “China,” he says.
It’s not uncommon to hear a trademark application for a new product or a brand name, but those applications do not include any claim of “China” or its official trademark.
The Chinese trademark office also has filed an application for trademarks for the Chinese term for the term “Citizens’ Republic of China,” which is used to describe Taiwan and its political and legal structure.
The office has said it has no plans to use the name in China.
The official trademark application filed by the Chinese government also contains a claim that the “Chinese government” is the “official language” of China.
The application also states that the name is used in “all forms of Chinese commerce, education, and public communication” and “in all forms of communication.”
That claim is false, Shortsouth, the Kirkland-Ellis trademark law expert, says.
China has no official language, and Chinese consumers can communicate in a variety of languages, including English, French, German, Japanese, Korean and Portuguese.
Shortsouth says the Chinas official trademark Office does not want to trademark “Chinese.”
“The government would like to trademark Chinese, and that’s fine, but there’s a big difference between a country trademarking something and a country trying to trademark something,” he adds.
Filed applications are part of a long line of trademark disputes in China and other countries around the world.
The U.S. is a leading consumer of Chinese goods, with nearly half of all the goods imported into the U.K. from China, according to the International Trade Commission.
In 2015, a Chinese court in the eastern city of Tianjin ruled that the company, Dongguan, should be stripped of the trademark for “Dongguan.”
The case, however, is being appealed.
Shivershowers claims that the Chinese authorities have no legal basis for holding Dongguans trademark in China or for demanding that it stop using the name or the term.
“This is a case of an administration trying to use its power to stop foreign companies from using the Chinese language in advertising and trade,” Shiverssouth says.
“I don’t see that as a strong argument.”