".. of the 25 liquor trademarks used by Japanese firms, five already have been registered in China, and the rest are under examination."
In the article the author writes a few times about registrations at the "patent office". However, this must be "trademark office". In China you can register invention-patents, utility-patents and design-patents at the patent office, which is part of the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO). Trademarks, however you only register at the China Trademark Office (CTMO), which is part of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC).
Read the Yomiuri Shimbun article here.