Chinese are discovering the value of the brand
A study by the international law firm Taylor Wessing revealed that the legal situation around the world has continued to align with the protection of trademarks. In China, Poland and Russia in particular, awareness of the value of brands is growing, because local companies are now registering more brands than in previous years, and counterfeiters are being prosecuted more severely. Regarding the situation in Germany, Dr. Wiebke Baars, partner in trademark law at Taylor Wessing Hamburg: “It is always criticized that it is very difficult to protect a trademark in Germany. But if this is done, then the acquired property right will hold. “
The study “Global Intellectual Property Index” shows how companies rate legal protection for intellectual property in the 24 most important global economies. It compares the status of legislation, current judgments, economic indicators and over 14,000 assessments from in-house lawyers and entrepreneurs worldwide. China was able to gain the most in the ratings of entrepreneurs. In a campaign, the government called for more attention to counterfeit branded goods and announced that it would pursue the manufacture and trade of such counterfeit goods more closely. However, the participants in the study criticized the fact that unregistered trademarks are only protected if they are sufficiently known. At the same time, the Chinese government successfully called on companies in the country to register their own brands. “That should increase the appreciation for brands, but in practice it also leads to the problem of so-called blocked brands,” explains Wiebke Baars. It is not uncommon for companies to have the unpleasant experience that their brand has already been protected by a Chinese company. Such malicious trademark applications can only be deleted with great effort by the actual trademark owner.
The legal situation in Russia has improved, as the study further showed: This is where the reforms from the beginning of the year, with which the government accelerated the registration of trademarks, are taking effect. Nevertheless, a trademark application could still take around 15 months. In addition, brand claims were difficult to enforce in court in Russia. India is also making progress in trademark law, but remains in last place worldwide. According to the legal experts, the government wants to follow important international standards in the future in order to make it easier for companies to register and enforce their trademarks. At the moment, however, the process of registering a trademark is still time-consuming and partially obscure. Wiebke Baars concretizes this assessment: “Companies that produce in this region must also protect their brand there in order to be able to put a stop to counterfeiters. The registration is very complicated, however, the trademark registers often contain errors that have to be corrected at great expense. “
Trademark law has been formally harmonized in the European Union for years. In practice, however, according to the lawyers surveyed, the legal situation in the EU countries has at best converged. “Despite all efforts, it is astonishing how far apart the countries of the EU are in the practice of trademark law,” says Wiebke Baars and adds: “Germany and Italy, for example, are worlds apart.” Poland has made significant progress and the penalties for trading in fake ones Branded articles tightened. Trade in such goods has been curbed in the markets near the border. Poland has also modernized its civil procedure law in recent years, which has accelerated legal proceedings against trademark infringements. According to the study, despite all the criticism from the experts surveyed, Germany is the world leader in trademark law. The study participants would have criticized that the German
Patent and Trademark Office rejects applications too often because the desired trademarks do not meet the legal protection requirements. From this it follows, however, that a trademark, once granted, is effectively protected. The practitioners rated the jurisprudence in trademark law as excellent, because trademark processes are decided quickly, cause low costs and access to competent courts is comparatively easy.