SAMR: Special Crackdown on Use of Prohibited Trademarks

August 30, 2018

Recently the State Administration of Market Regulation (SAMR) issued a notice to launch a special crack down on use of unregistered trademarks which are in violation of the prohibitive articles of China Trademark Law.

Scope of Crackdown

The use of unregistered trademarks are in violation of the prohibitive articles in the Trademark Law;

The application for such unregistered trademarks were filed since 2017;

The unregistered trademarks have been refused during trademark examination in accordance with Article 10 of the Trademark Law;

Article 10 of Trademark Law

The following words or devices shall not be used as trademarks:

(1) those identical with or similar to the State name, national flag, national emblem, national song, military flag, military emblem, military song or decorations, etc. of the People's Republic of China; and those identical with the names, emblems, names of particular venues, or names or devices of the landmark buildings of the Central State government organizations;

(2) those identical with or similar to the State names, national flags, national emblems or military flags, etc. of foreign countries, except that consent has been given by the relevant country’s government;

(3) those identical with or similar to the names, flags or emblems, etc. of international intergovernmental organizations, except that consent has been given by the relevant organization or that the use in unlikely to mislead the public;

(4) those identical with or similar to official signs and hallmarks indicating control and warranty, except that the use thereof is otherwise authorized;

(5) those identical with or simi1ar to the names or symbols of the Red Cross or the Red Crescent;

(6) those having the nature of discrimination against any nationality;

(7) those that are of fraudulent nature and are apt to cause the public to mistaken the quality or other characteristics or the place of origin of a product; and those detrimental to socialist morals or customs or having other negative influences.

The geographical names of the administrative divisions at or above the county level and the foreign geographical names well-known to the public shall not be used as trademarks, but such geographical names as have otherwise meanings or as an element of a collective mark or a certification mark shall be exclusive. Where a trademark using any of the above-mentioned geographical names has been approved and registered, it shall continue to be valid.


The administrative authorities shall order cessation of such act and correction of the situation within a specified time limit; at the same time, public notice and administrative penalty shall be imposed.