26 February 2020TrademarksRory O'Neill

China publishes TM oppositions online; promotes IP financing amid virus outbreak

China has published trademark opposition decisions online for the first time, the country’s trademark office has announced.

In a statement last week, the trademark office of the Chinese National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) said the decision was taken in the interests of greater transparency in trademark examinations.

From now on, trademark opposition decisions will be made publicly available to view online within 20 working days, with a database stretching back to January this year.

Parties can still request for decisions to be withheld, for example if it contains their commercial secrets.

The NIPA has discretion whether or not to approve these requests, and can also withhold decisions in “other special circumstances” which mean it would be inappropriate for the decisions to be made public.

Members of the public will be able to comment on decisions posted online, the CNIPA statement said.

Decisions appear to only be available in Chinese.

IP being used as collateral amid coronavirus outbreak

The CNIPA has also announced that it will extend support for IP pledge financing to keep small businesses afloat during the coronavirus outbreak.

The measure will see loans offered to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), with IP rights pledged as collateral.

The virus, which emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December, has infected more than 80,000 people in the country so far and prompted  city-wide quarantine measures.

He Zhimin, deputy director of the CNIPA, said the move would bring relief to SMEs during the difficult period.

“It is a very effective measure for those small and medium-sized companies, especially technological companies, to pledge their IP rights for funds,” the CNIPA official said.

To facilitate the extension of IP pledge financing, the CNIPA has shortened the electronic registration period to one working day and said it would coordinate with banks to organise the loans.

Almost 40 enterprises in Jiangsu Province have obtained pledge loans worth RMB114 million ($16.2 million) since the coronavirus outbreak, he said.

Another company providing emergency medical supplies in Dongguan, Guangdong Province had enhanced its production capacity with a pledge loan of RMB15 million, he added.

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