Thursday, April 05, 2007

Counterfeit Cars, Backlogs and Economic Nationalism

The Economist has an article about Counterfeit cars in China.

It writes:
"So far, legal action by foreign firms has proved nearly useless. The many writs, threats, injunctions and court cases have become embroiled in slow-grinding legal machinations, been thrown out on technical grounds or failed because foreign firms had not properly registered their designs."

Some of China's administrative enforcement authorities, such as the Trademark Office and Trademark Review and Adjudication Board, are indeed slow-grinding, because they have a big backlog, reports Peter Ollier for Managing Intellectual Property:

"18 and 30 months to register their marks, five years to get a ruling in an opposition hearing, and up to seven years for a decision from the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board (TRAB) in a cancellation action."

Although China's provisions stipulate provisional measures including injunctions, the delays in deciding trademark oppositions by the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board can have a knock-on effect.

Ollier writes:
"In late 2005 the Supreme Court stated that when there is a dispute over registered trade marks, courts should not handle such cases but should wait for the dispute to be dealt by the Trade Mark Office first."

Of course car producers should not forget to register their design rights in China. However, even if they forget their designs should be protected by copyright, which does not need to be registered.

Then the Economist also refers to economic nationalism:
"Foreign carmakers are reluctant to make too much of a fuss, lest they be excluded from a fast-growing market or generate unwelcome negative publicity."

Read Ollier's article here. Read the Economist article here.

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