From Muji to Manolo: unpicking China’s first-to-file system

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Charles Feng, partner at East & Concord in Beijing, explains why filing for a trademark early is still a brand’s best bet.

Since the promulgation of China’s Trademark Law in 1982, the first-to-file principle has been firmlyestablished.

The major benefits of the principle are that it promotes the efficiency of trademark examination by the China National IP Administration (CNIPA), as well as the evaluation of the trademarkablity of new applications.

Nonetheless, the principle has also caused significant problems, in particular those applications that infringe the prior rights of brand owners including their copyright and trademarks.

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