CNIPA released guidelines concerning the classification of trademarks

CNIPA released guidelines concerning the classification of trademarks

CNIPA released guidelines concerning the classification of trademarks

Issued on December 29, 2023, the “Guidance on the Correct Understanding of Classification of Goods and Services for Trademark Registration” aims to enhance comprehension of the official classification system in China.

According to the guidance, the Chinese version of the Classification of Goods and Services is built upon the Nice Classification, with the additional inclusion of names commonly used in China. This compilation, referred to as the classification book, serves as a crucial reference for administrative and judicial authorities when evaluating similar goods and services in trademark cases.

The guidance outlines fundamental rules governing the formulation and utilization of the classification book to determine the likeness of goods and services. It emphasizes the significance of subclasses within the classification book, where similar goods and services are grouped. Generally, goods and services within the same subclass are considered similar, while those in different subclasses are not. However, the guidance acknowledges that exceptions exist, and certain goods or services within the same subclass may not be deemed similar based on further divisions.

Regarding goods and services not explicitly listed in the official classification book, the guidance advocates evaluating their similarity based on the understanding of the relevant public, considering factors such as function, usage, raw materials, production sector, target consumers, and sales channels.

The document delineates the application of the classification book in different examination procedures. In trademark registration and refusal review cases, the classification book is the primary basis for judgment. In trademark opposition, review of opposition, and invalidation cases, the classification book is a major reference, supplemented by relevant rules from the Trademark Examination Review Guidelines. Similarity determination is emphasized as a case-by-case process.

For goods and services not covered in the classification book, but with relevance, the guidance recommends determining similarity by referencing the theory of likelihood of confusion. Additionally, it underscores the importance of designating proper goods and services aligned with market needs for obtaining comprehensive protection post-registration, emphasizing consistency between registered and in-use goods.

***Other Articles***

– You could see How To Register a Trademark in China here.

– You could visit here to see the Procedure of Trademark in China.

– You could visit here to check the Required documents for filing a trademark in China.

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