By Ms. Haoyu Feng of Chofn IP
On May 20, 2020, the China National IP Administration (CNIPA) announced that it recently opened the function to the public for on-line trademark applications for non-standard specification.
China, a member to the Nice Agreement, accepts the international classification except a small number of items that it considers not lawful or vague and the CNIPA regularly announces a list of the standard items of goods and services, basically in line with the Nice Agreement, as well as the non-standard but acceptable items. In the past, the CNIPA only accepted online trademark applications for standard or acceptable list of goods and services it announced, whereas the applications for goods and services beyond the list can only be filed off-line.
This newly opened function will fully facilitate trademark applications and make on-line filing available for all new trademark applications, to enable all applicants to enjoy the ten percent (10%) discount. The CNIPA will examine the specification and may issue office actions to require the applicants to further specify and clarify the specification.
The CNIPA did not mention whether or not it will change its practice and start to give the applicants more than one opportunity to amend or standardize the specification. Under the pressure of its target of shortening the examination duration to four months by the end of this year, the CNIPA is quite unlikely to give more opportunities. Therefore, I strongly suggest that the applicants try all they can to meet the official requirements, to avoid potential rejection simply because of the unacceptable specification.