Beijing IP Court Imposes First Penalty for Bad Faith Conduct in Litigation

On 3 November 2016, Beijing Intellectual Property Court (BIPC), in its ruling for an administrative lawsuit regarding non-use cancellation of a mark, imposed a RMB10,000 penalty on the trademark registrant for obstructing litigation with falsified evidence during legal proceedings.
In respect of the request for cancellation of the mark at issue, the China Trademark Office (CTMO) made a decision of cancellation on 11 April 2014 on the grounds that the mark had not been put to use for three consecutive years after registration. The decision was upheld by the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board (TRAB). The registrant appealed the case to BIPC, and during the legal proceedings, the registrant, in order to prove that his mark had been used on the approved goods, presented to the court evidence of use including copies of sales invoices and registration certificates for advertisement, along with notarization of the copies as conforming to the original documents.
In examining the evidence, the court found that part of the evidences submitted by the registrant were falsified or forged, especially obvious among them was an advertisement as evidence of use that showed a non-existent date of 29 February 2013 for a publicity event. Accordingly, the court imposed a penalty of RMB10,000 on the registrant in accordance with the Administrative Litigation Law of China.
This is the first monetary penalty given by BIPC on bad faith conduct in administrative litigation since the establishment of the court in 2014. By this case, we can see that BIPC attaches much importance to upholding proper order and good faith in litigation. And as indicated by vice president of BIPC, efforts would be stepped up by the court to reinforce identification and punishment of bad faith conduct for better IP protection.