• Professional News
  • 09 April 2013

Amendments to the Chinese goods and services classification

The new service item
To keep in compliance with the changes of the Nice Classification which came into effect on 1 January 2013, the Chinese Classification added the service item "Retail or Wholesale Services for pharmaceutical, veterinary and sanitary preparations and medical supplies" to Class 35. This is the first time the Chinese Trade Mark Office (CTMO) recognises that "Retail and Wholesale Related Services" may be registered as trademarks, which were previously registered under items, such as Promotion for Others, Business Information, Presentation of Goods on Communication Media, for Retail Purposes, etc. 

Structure of the similar group
The new similar group (or sub-class) has the following structure:

Class 35

Similar group 3509

Retail or Wholesale Services for drugs and medical products

Para. 1

Retail or wholesale services for pharmaceutical, veterinary and sanitary preparations and medical supplies

350108

Para. 2

※Retail or wholesale services for drugs for human use

C350009

 

Retail or wholesale services for pharmaceutical preparations

C350010

 

Retail or wholesale services for medical products

C350011

 

Retail or wholesale services for sanitary preparations

C350012

Para. 3

※Retail or wholesale services for veterinary drugs

C350013

 

Retail or wholesale services for veterinary preparations

C350014

Note

1. Item 350108 "Retail or Wholesale Services for pharmaceutical, veterinary and sanitary preparations and medical supplies" is similar to the remaining items within this similar group.

2. Items in para. 2 are not similar to items in para. 3.

In the above structure, similar group means a sub-class of a certain class. Items within the similar group should be considered similar, provided that the notes do not prove otherwise. The symbol ※ in front of the paragraphs means that the items within such paragraphs are Chinese goods and services. The Capital C (for China) before the basic number of a certain item also points to the fact that this number pertains to Chinese goods or services.

Items in para. 2 are related to human use, and items in para. 3 are related to veterinary and animal use. This is why the notes say that items in these two paragraphs are not similar. Moreover, although the services in this similar group relate to goods in Class 5 (i.e. pharmaceutical and veterinary preparations, sanitary preparations for medical purposes for distribution), no similarity exists between these two classes, and no cross-class examination will be conducted.

Interim period
Just as when the service trademark was introduced into the Chinese Classification, the CTMO also made this new service trademark subject to an interim period. From 1 January to 31 January, applicants could apply for trademark registration under the new, similar group. All applications filed during this period were considered to have been filed on the same date. Disputes will be settled by proving first use, which requires abundant evidence. If the applicants use the mark on the same date or none of them ever used it, they should negotiate and come to an agreement. If no agreement is reached, the CTMO will arrange for the applicants to subsequently draw lots. This procedure follows section 19 of the Chinese Trade Mark Act. It is worth noticing that applicants are required to submit supporting corporate documents (with the appropriate Chinese translation) showing that their authorised business scope includes the applied for services.

Impact of this change
It is optimistic that the CTMO will adopt other service trademarks regarding retail and wholesale in the future. Applicants within the business of retail and wholesale services should keep an eye on this change and ensure sufficient protection of their own marks.

This new trend will also increase the number of service providers and encourage customers to purchase the goods from platforms, especially untraditional ones, such as online stores and via the television.

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