Protecting time-honored trademarks requires a first move

Driven by practical interests, it is not uncommon for time-honored brands to be counterfeited and maliciously attached. For example, the well-known "Xisi Bun Shop" has many shops with similar names in the streets and alleys, which are true and false, so that consumers "stupid and unclear".

The recently released White Paper on Intellectual Property Inspection of Beijing Municipal Procuratorate (2022) pointed out that with the gradual rise of "national tide" consumption, some business entities fancy "rub" the popularity of time-honored brands, and even maliciously preemptively register time-honored brands, harming the legitimate rights and interests of time-honored enterprises and consumers. Some merchants imitate the names of time-honored brands on store signboards and plaques without legitimate reasons, and some entities maliciously apply for preemptive registration of trademarks similar to time-honored brands without the purpose of use.

The practice of being "famous brand" has troubled many long-established enterprises. This situation has also been exacerbated by the continuous development of the Internet economy. Some long-established enterprises said that as the flow of customers gradually shifts from offline to online, they are helpless to do anything about remote online infringement on e-commerce platforms.

All kinds of intellectual property disputes not only cause long-established enterprises to suffer losses at present, but also restrict the pace of their long-term development. Previously, there were many cases of time-honored Chinese enterprises being blocked from listing due to trademark disputes. Thanks to the increased attention paid to time-honored enterprises in recent years, as well as the introduction of new measures and policies for the protection of relevant intellectual property rights, the success rate of time-honored infringement cases has been continuously improved. However, for most long-established enterprises, it is time-consuming and laborious to protect their rights through litigation, and it is a last resort. Time-honored enterprises should take the initiative to improve their consciousness and initiative in protecting independent intellectual property rights, carry out the layout of trademark protection as early as possible, establish the awareness of "food and grass are not moved, and trademarks come first", and consolidate the foundation for trademark rights protection.

Time-honored enterprises should carry out the layout of their unique commercial logos, product formulas, processes, services, etc. through timely registration of trademarks and domain names, application for patents, strengthening the protection of trade secrets, etc., establish protection and prevention mechanisms as soon as possible, and carry out intellectual property protection in a diversified manner. History and the current market status should be respected, ownership relationships and rights boundaries between various types of rights subjects should be reasonably demarcated, awareness of warrants should be strengthened, historical certificates should be properly preserved, and clear agreements and reasonable restrictions should be made on the licensing and transfer of rights, with the goal of better maintaining and continuing the brand value of time-honored brands, and avoiding and effectively resolving disputes over the ownership of time-honored brands. At the same time, all business entities should also uphold the principles of fairness and integrity in carrying out market operations, respect the intellectual property rights of autonomy and others, and jointly create a good and orderly business environment.

(Economic Daily, Han Bingzhi)