China Amends Eight Laws Including Trademark Law, Anti-Unfair Competition Law & Administrative Licensing Law to Improve Business Environment

On 23 April 2019, amendments to eight laws were adopted at the 10th session of the Standing Committee of the 13th National People's Congress of China, with a view to strengthening the business enabling environment of the country and supporting the implementation of Foreign Investment Law. The amended laws are: Trademark Law, Anti-Unfair Competition Law, Administrative Licensing Law, Electronic Signature Law, Construction Law, Urban and Rural Planning Law, Vehicle and Vessel Tax Law, and Fire Protection Law.
Three laws among the said laws are related to enhancement of IP protection. The Trademark Law's amendments aim at regulating trademark filings in bad faith and trademark hoarding, by stipulating that any bad-faith application for trademark registration not for the purpose of use shall be rejected; including bad-faith filings as the absolute grounds for opposing a trademark application or requesting for invalidation of a trademark; and imposing administrative penalties and judicial punishment on bad-faith filings. The amended Trademark Law also significantly increases the damages for malicious trademark infringement, and provides for destruction of relevant materials, production machines, and production lines as the punishment for malicious trademark infringement.
The changes to the Anti-Unfair Competition Law focus on enhancing the protection for trade secret, by improving the definition of trade secret; specifying the constitution of trade secret infringement; setting forth that natural persons, legal persons and unincorporated organisations, instead of just business operators as in this law before amendment, are subject to liabilities for trade secret infringement; and raising the damages and administrative penalties for trade secret infringement.
For the Administrative Licensing Law, its amendments include introduction of non-discriminatory principle to the establishment and implementation of administrative licensing and further strengthening the protection for trade secret submitted by the counterparty in the process of administrative licensing application.
With the exception of the Trademark Law, which will not enter into force until 1 November 2019, the said laws have come into effect on 23 April 2019 upon the promulgation of the amendments.