Recognition of Attorneys’ Trademark Agency Rights

July 23, 2004
Recognition of Attorneys’ Trademark Agency Rights
On July 22, China’s Nanjing Intellectual Property Law Firm got victory in a lawsuit on attorney’s trademark agency right. Beijing First Intermediate Court canceled the administrative decision of the Chinese State Administration on Industry and Commerce (SAIC) Trademark Office on the firm’s lack of capacity for trademark application representation. This is defeat of a state organ in an administrative procedure case is a precedent, since the effectuation of the new Administrative Procedure Law on July 1 this year.

According to international practice, attorneys may provide trademark agency services. However, according to Chinese practice, attorneys have always been driven out of the trademark agency domain. To enter the latter, attorneys have to obtain approval from SAIC. In the beginning of last year, SAIC abrogated approval in the trademark agency structure and authorization of trademark agents. SAIC, however, issued yet another Notice on relevant work to be carried out after the abrogation of the administratively regulated approval of trademark agency. The Notice further ruled on the existence, filing and operation restriction of the trademark agent structure. Nanjing Law Firm realized its case on the EMIN trademark registration would not be settled. In the administrative review requested by the firm, SAIC maintained its original opinion.

The settlement of this case reveals the legal recognition and protection of attorneys’ trademark agency rights.