UIC Review of Intellectual Property Law


Over the past century, China has been depicted as being solely to blame for the world’s most serious commercial piracy problem. But this characterization is not entirely China’s fault. Multinational corporations and international brand owners in China have adopted a flawed approach to combating trademark infringement that is actually making the problem worse within Chinese walls. Companies and brand owners have primarily implemented one dimensional, enforcement only approaches that rely specifically on litigation as a means to curb counterfeiting and trademark infringement. Since 2001, China has made substantial strides in the laws governing trademarks and has trended toward positive treatment of international brand owners in its civil courts. However, judicial enforcement is still plagued by a plethora of issues, including lack of judicial independence, difficulty in enforcing judgments, and inadequacy of penalties, rendering an enforcement only approach to be virtually futile. This comment addresses how the current reliance on litigation as a trademark enforcement strategy and means to curb counterfeiting by corporations and brand owners is wholly ineffective. Additionally, this comment proposes alternative and preventative strategies, which may prove useful for international companies and brand owners in protecting their trademarks from infringement and from counterfeiting in China.