[Academic News] Professor Ning Lizhi from the School of Law is interviewed by the British Magazine The Economist

Ms. Stephanie Studer, a reporter of the internationally renowned British magazineThe Economist, recently interviewed the Chinese delegation that went to South America in October 2017 to carry out trademark rights protection and recovered more than 130 trademarks squatted by Chilean businessmen. Ning Lizhi, a Professor from the School of Law of our University and Director of the Institute of Intellectual Property and Competition Law, was interview by Ms. Stephanie Studer.

In the interview, Ms. Stephanie Studer mainly raised the following questions: 1. What efforts have been made by the rights defending delegation to Chile to successfully retrieve the trademarks that have been squatted? 2. As far as you know, why are Chilean companies squatting so many Chinese trademarks? 3. What difficulties and challenges do Chinese companies face in their trademark protection rights overseas? 4. Compared with other countries, what level is Chinese enterprises in terms of overseas registration and maintenance of trademarks? What are the gaps? 5. What aspects do you think Chinese companies and governments should do to safeguard their trademark rights? Professor Ning Lizhi gave an objective and comprehensive answer to those above questions one by one.

Professor Ning said: "The main effort is to negotiate, demonstrate the facts of Chinese trademarks in prior use, advertising, international trade, overseas market share and market influence, and bring out the reasons regarding trademark law, copyright law and anti-unfair competition law and even the anti-monopoly law and so on."

The protection of Chinese brands should mainly be based on prevention and maintenance. The awareness of overseas registration protection of Chinese corporate trademarks has been continuously enhanced in recent years, but overall it is still at the primary level. First, only some enterprises have the awareness and take actions of trademark overseas registration, but most enterprises do not. Second, there is a tendency to pay more attention to registration and little attention has been paid to maintenance, at the same time, the level of trademark management within Chinese companies needs to be further improved. Therefore, the Chinese government should further strengthen the education and popularization of trademark legal knowledge. Chinese enterprises should further establish and strengthen brand awareness, using quality, technology content and business reputation to build better brands. Meanwhile, Chinese companies should also make full use of international registration system, and conduct trademark overseas registration and international registration in a timely and reasonable manner.

Professor Ning Lizhi also pointed out that, it is shame that even if the settlement agreement has been signed, there are still many enterprises in China that fail to provide the certificate of the prior use of the trademark and the legal process of trademark transfer according to law. There are still quite a few enterprises that have shown a lack of interest in their trademarks and the results of this right protection. They are reluctant to provide evidences and handle the procedures for trademark transfer, which has caused the relevant trademarks to remain in the hands of foreign squatters.

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