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News blog4 July 2023European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency3 min read

Suspension of trademark procedures finally possible in China

Suspension of trademark procedures finally possible in China

Written by Mr. Reinout van Malenstein, IP Expert and collaborator of the China IP SME Helpdesk

CNIPA has issued the Regulation on Trademark Review and Adjudication for examiners (Regulation) The Regulation finally allows for suspension of trademark procedures. This is a big deal, as foreign rightsholders have been frustrated for a long time by having to take care of bad faith trademarks, whilst wanting to register their own rights.

The problem in practice is to reduce the burden on the legal right holder to repeatedly apply and exhaust the legal procedures in order to avoid the citation of trademark right obstacles, and to reduce the unnecessary institutional costs of obtaining the exclusive right to use a trademark. The suspension procedure will hopefully make this process less costly and faster.

The Regulation provides for seven specific circumstances where CNIPA should grant suspension requests. There are also three further situations in which CNIPA might grant a request for suspension.

Seven circumstances in which proceedings should be suspended

Among the circumstances that there should be suspension, there are five types that are generally applicable to re-examination of refusal, re-examination of non-registration and invalidation cases, namely: 

1. The disputed trademark or reference trademark is in the process of changing or transferring the name of the registrant, and there is no conflict of rights between the disputed trademark or the reference trademark after the change or transfer; 

2. The cited trademark has expired and is in the process of renewal or a grace period for renewal; 

3. The cited trademark is in the process of cancelling or withdrawing the application; 

4. Where the cited trademark has been revoked, declared invalid or not renewed upon expiry, and the date of revocation, declaration of invalidity or cancellation is less than one year when the case is heard; 

5. The case involving the cited trademark has been concluded and is waiting for the conclusion to become effective, or the enforcement of the effective judgment is pending re-arbitration. 

There is one situation that is specifically applicable to cases of non-registration re-examination and invalidation declaration, namely: 

6.  The prior rights involved must be based on the outcome of another case that is being tried by a people's court or that is being handled by an administrative organ; 

There is one that is specifically applicable to refusal review, namely: 

7. The status of the reference trademark rights involved must be based on the result of another case that is being tried by the people's court or being handled by the administrative agency, and the applicant explicitly requests to suspend the trial. 

Three circumstances in which CNIPA might suspend the proceedings

There are circumstances in which CNIPA might grant a request for suspension:

1.  The cited trademark involved in the refusal review case has been requested for invalidation, and the registrant of the cited trademark has been found to acting in bad faith in other cases; 

2. If it is necessary to wait for the case to be the same or the relevant case has been ruled or judged earlier, the trial may be suspended according to the needs of the individual case; 

3. other situations where the trial can be suspended. 

For the cases that cannot be exhausted, the principle of necessity and benefit to the legal right holder shall be the principle, and the examiner may independently decide whether to suspend the trial according to the specific circumstances of the case with reference to the above circumstances.  


Having now the possibility of suspension of cases with CNIPA, rightsholders can make it easier in practice to foresee the costs of legal proceedings in China. At the same time, it will also speed up the process to finally getting rights effectively registered. 

The new system benefits the rightsholders, the courts and CNIPA itself. We are curious in following-up on the actual implementation with cases and we will write a follow-up article in which we will explain the process on how to deal and apply for the suspension.