From The Wall Street Journal:
Huge numbers of Chinese citizens are seeking trademarks in the U.S., flooding the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office with applications that officials say appear to be rife with false information.
The surge of filings from China has surprised the patent office. Officials say it could be fueled by cash subsidies that Chinese municipal governments are offering to citizens who register a trademark in a foreign country.
Trademark applications from China have grown more than 12-fold since 2013 and for fiscal 2017 totaled thousands more than the combined filings from Canada, Germany and the U.K. About one in every nine trademark applications reviewed by the U.S. agency is China-based, according to government data.
Patent and trademark officials say cash incentives could be a factor. As part of a national effort to ramp up intellectual-property ownership, China’s provincial governments are paying citizens hundreds of dollars in Chinese currency for each trademark registered in the U.S.
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The Patent and Trademark Office has found numerous instances of Chinese applicants asserting that a proposed trademark is used in commerce, while submitting multiple nearly-identical images of the same consumer product with a different word on the brand tag. FORLISEA, CINYIFAAN, ENJOYSWEETY and GOOKET are some of the two dozen Chinese brands shown on an identically designed pair of zebra-print pants, for example.
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Having a trademark registered in the U.S. is crucial for sellers on Amazon, whose brand-registry program rewards officially trademarked products with more site visibility and a higher listing in search results.
A number of Chinese merchants appear to be represented by foreign attorneys who aren’t licensed to practice law in the U.S., violating application rules. In one recent application, a Shenzhen address was listed for an attorney representing a Hong Kong client who had photoshopped the word “Instamarket” over a Walmart storefront.
And more than a dozen Chinese applicants entered the name “Wendy” into the entry box for the attorney name on the trademark application.
Link to the rest at The Wall Street Journal