The upgrade, which began in mid-April of this year, ran into what the TMO described in an August notice as “serious technical malfunction”. According to the notice, the technical problems affected systems supporting automated functions in the registration system, and as a result, the processing of applications as well as hearings.
The SAIC issued another notice last week, noting that the Chinese Trademark Office’s (TMO) system has “basically” been restored and upgraded. According to Troy Rice of Simone IP Services in Hong Kong, the newer system offers several improvements, such as more frequently updated records, though it appears that there are still have some problems to iron out.
“Though…the records are being updated more regularly - the prior data set (that is, not recent and new filings) now has more than the usual amount of errors, mostly relating to status of the marks,” he says. “Registered marks show up as invalid, invalid marks show up as still pending - it’s best not to trust the results you get on the public portal, and there’s a need to have the TMO examiners do internal searches to have any comfort that search results are accurate.”
The technical problems also caused a delay in some of the other functions, such as issuances of receipts, application refusals and opposition decisions. Since last week’s announcement, the system appears to be functioning, though it may not be at full capacity. For example, while Rice notes that he is beginning to see filing receipts, refusals and other documents coming from the TMO and the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board (TRAB), Paul Schmidt of Jun He Law Offices in Beijing says that he has not received any such documents.
“So far we haven’t seen a change in [the TMO’s or TRAB’s] behaviour,” said Schmidt. “A lot of the functions that we normally rely upon haven’t been available.”
“Business has certainly been affected, but I hope that it will all be back to normal soon.”
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