Dawn Ellmore Employment's Blog

IP and Legal Industry Updates



China’s Tencent Filed the Most Global Trade Mark Applications in 2016

Trade mark research company TrademarkNow recently published research on the top 50 global trade mark applications filed in 2016.

Tencent Holdings Limited (a Chinese investment holding company with subsidiaries providing media, entertainment, payment systems, internet and mobile phone value-added services) valued at US$279bn was found to have filed the highest number (4,100) of trade mark applications in 2016.  In second place with 3,600 filings was Korean technology manufacturer LG Electronics and in third place with 3,500 filings was US media giant Time Warner.

There were 5 other Chinese companies: LeEco, Alibaba, Huawei, Leshi Internet Information and Technology Corp and Baidu that appeared in the global top 50 companies by number of trade mark applications in 2016 showing a trend for the success of Chinese companies.

In 2016 WIPO confirmed China had become the first country to file 1 million patent applications in a single year (looking at 2015 patent data).  China was found to be driving Asian-led growth in innovation worldwide with 62% of global filing activity for patents is in Asia, 55% of global activity in trade marks is in Asia and 68% of design applications are in Asia.  In 2016 3.7 million trade mark applications were accepted by the Chinese authorities, an increase of almost 30% from the previous year.  This was also 7 times the volume of trade mark applications filed in the United States.

The full report can be accessed here:


New Balance Wins China IP Lawsuit

New Balance Athletic Shoe Inc recently won an intellectual property dispute in China.

Chinese manufacturers copy products but sell them with a slight modification of the brand name.  For the copied New Balance shoes, customers were faced with similar looking products called New Boom, New Barlun and New Bunren — brand names that were protected under China’s trademark law.

The Suzhou Intermediate People’s Court recently fined five companies US$250,000 for breaching an injunction issued in September 2016 prohibiting them from selling shoes with the US shoemaker’s signature slanting “N” logo.


Will Mercedes-Benz’s Trade Marks for Electric Cars Infringe on a Chinese Car Maker?

Global automobile manufacturer Mercedes-Benz is well known for its luxury vehicles, buses, coaches, and trucks.  The company is now expanding into electric cars and will create a new “EQ” sub-brand for a range of electric vehicles to include two saloons and two SUVs with plans to manufacture these in Germany and China.  Mercedes-Benz’s parent company Daimler AG has filed several EQ trade mark filings including: EQA, EQC, EQE, EQG and EQS to protect this new “EQ” sub-brand.  The electric vehicles within the sub-brand are expected to have a unique style, separate from the look and feel of the main Mercedes brand image.

As China is reportedly the world’s largest electric vehicle market it makes sense that Mercedes-Benz would want to protect its electric vehicle sub-brand in that market.  However Chinese based automotive brand Chery have lodged a formal complaint against Mercedes EQ trade mark applications because they feel it would infringe on their own trademarked “eQ” brand of electric cars which have been on sale for the last two years.  Both companies’ trade marks are very similar and would be operating within the same sub-sector of electric cars being manufactured in the same market of China.


Patent Lawsuits Increase by a Third in China

The total number of patents issued in 2016 in China increased 24% to over 1.2 million.  Patent lawsuits in China were recently reported to have increased by 37% to 28,916 in 2016 when compared with 2015 figures.  Patent lawsuits related to counterfeit goods increased by 32% to 28,057 in 2016.

The surge in patent disputes in China coincides with Beijing’s five year plan to strengthen intellectual property rights by increasing patents per 10,000 people from 6.3 to 12 and increasing patent royalties from $44.4 billion to $100 billion from 2015 to 2020.


China Awards 10 Year Trade Mark on “Trump” for Construction Industry

The government of China recently awarded US President Donald Trump a 10-year trade mark right to his own name for construction services.  The registration was a surprise win following a decade long battle trying to obtain the rights to his name back from a man named Dong Wei.

Donald Trump currently has 77 trade marks registered in his own name with 49 pending trade mark applications in China.


AI Patent Applications Increase by Almost 200% in China

In a survey covering artificial intelligence (AI) patent applications in 10 countries including the US, China, Europe, Japan and South Korea over the comparison period of 2015-2010 compared to the figure for the previous five years the data shows the following:

  • US applications grew 26% to 15,317, the highest total figure counted.
  • Chinese applications grew 190% to 8,410, representing the largest growth rate. Chinese AI patent applications have also been commended for the quality of their submissions as well as the quantity.
  • Japanese applications were down 3% to 2,071.


Names of Famous People Cannot be Trademarked in China

The Supreme People’s Court (the highest court in the mainland area of China) issued a document stating that names of famous people cannot be used as trade marks.  The document went on to state that if a trade mark brings to mind the name of a famous person then that trade mark will also not be permitted.

The new guidance comes after the Chinese ruling in the Michael Jordan trade mark dispute against Chinese sportswear company Qiaodan that were found to have illegally used his name for commercial gain.


BMW Wins Trade Mark Dispute against Two Chinese Firms

The Shanghai Intellectual Property Court ordered two Chinese companies (motor company Deguo Baoma Group and fashion house Chuangjia Group) to pay damages of f $432,000 to BMW after ruling in BMW’s favour in a trade mark infringement case.  Both companies were found to have illegally used BMW’s logo to capitalise of BMW’s established positive reputation in China.

The court concluded the “BMN” logo registered by Deguo Baoma was too similar to the famous BMW logo to be allowed.  Chuangjia was also accused of illegally using BMW’s logo on its range of clothes, shoes, and bags.


Innovation Investment Levels in the US and China

It has been suggested that over the last decade US government policies and legal rulings have pushed US investment money overseas to China.  A huge portion of the US economy relies on intellectual property industries which support more than 45 million jobs and account for up to $6 trillion (which is equivalent to 38% of the US GDP).  Decreased patent incentives and changes in US patent law have resulted in companies being less likely to invest in biotech and software innovations in the US.

China on the other hand seems to be changing its reputation as an economy full of copycat innovations to a world-class leader in cutting-edge technology.  China’s R&D spending relative to its GDP has more than doubled in the last 15 years.


Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: