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China (British Trade Marks)

Volume 320: debated on Monday 22 February 1937

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4.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been drawn to the decision of the Chinese Ministry of Industries in refusing protection to a well-known British trade mark registered for electric lamps which is being used by a Chinese firm on a different class of goods; and what action he proposes to take for the protection of British traders whose trade marks are infringed?

I have consulted His Majesty's Representative at Peking who states that no recent instance of the nature described by my hon. Friend has been brought to his notice. I understand, however, that a trade mark registered in respect of electric lamps by an American concern was last year imitated on cigarettes. So far as I am aware, no British interests were involved.

5.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been called to the refusal of the Chinese authorities to protect a trade nark registered in China by a British firm for soap-class goods which is being used by a Chinese firm for face cream; and whether he will draw the attention of the Chinese Government to the injustice of this decision?

The difficulties experienced by British firms in this connection arise out of the provisions of the relevant article of the Chinese Trade Mark Law, as applied by the Chinese Courts; it is held that the exclusive right to the use of a trade mark is confined to the class of goods specified in the application for registration, and cannot be extended to cover articles in other categories. The attention of the competent department of the Chinese Government has frequently been drawn to this unsatisfactory state of affairs, and an assurance has recently been received that the matter will receive attention when the Trade Mark Law is next revised.

Can the Noble Lord ascertain within a reasonable time the view of the Chinese Government?

I am at present expecting a full report on the subject from His Majesty's Ambassador at Peking.