News Briefs: Trademark Law Raises Fines and Damages, NPC Approves Free-Trade Zone Pilot

New Trademark Law raises fines and damages for trademark infringement

The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC) on August 30 passed the revised Trademark Law after reviewing it for the third time in the last two years. The biggest change in the new law for many companies was the increase in the cap for civil damages in trademark cases from RMB 500,000 ($81,692) to RMB 3 million ($490,145) – six times the previous limit. Additional changes added larger administrative fines for trademark violators, more serious penalties for repeat offenders, revised provisions for protecting “well-known” trademarks, and allowances to file trademarks for sounds and to apply for trademarks in multiple product classes simultaneously.  The law will go into effect as of May 1, 2014.

National People’s Congress approves Shanghai Free Trade Zone pilot

The National People’s Congress last week approved a State Council proposal to suspend certain foreign investment provisions that will allow Shanghai to establish a free-trade zone, according to Xinhua News Agency.

The proposal temporarily suspends administrative approvals starting October 1 in three foreign investment laws—the Foreign-Invested Enterprises Law, Chinese-Foreign Equity Joint Ventures Law and the Chinese-Foreign Contractual Joint Venture Law—within the pilot zone. However, the free trade zone could be eliminated if the government believes it has not been effective after the three-year pilot period. 

The South China Morning Post reported Tuesday that Ai Baojun, Shanghai’s vice mayor in charge of economic and industrial development, will serve as head of a commission overseeing the free-trade zone. The free-trade zone is expected to be open by the end of September, according to SCMP.

Events

APEC Women Leadership Forum

The APEC Women Leadership Forum will take place Nov. 14-16 at the Ritz-Carlton in Beijing. This year’s theme, Championing Innovation Through Inclusive Leadership, will intellectually discuss on how to promote new growth strategies that harness women’s talents and innovation, how to foster more women leaders in the corporate management pipelines, and challenges and opportunities faced by women in business. For more information on the event and how to get involved, visit http://www.apecwomenleadershipforum.com