There is a bit of good news to share for brands struggling to keep their brand names, and thus, their trademarks, in check in China. As of today, revisions to China’s trademark law, such as increased fines for infringement, are set to be implemented.
Some of the major changes include: an increase in the level of damages the court may provide for trademark holders' whose marks have been infringed (the limited is now $480,000 per infringement, six times more than the current maximum), procedures to reduce bad faith filing, a quicker turnaround time for trademark applications (the China Trademark Office will complete its examination of an application within nine months), stricter standards against the unauthorized use of "well known" marks, and good news for Christian Louboutin, colors may now be trademarked for the first time in China.
The revisions to the current trademark law in China were approved this past August (see them outlined in a bit more depth here) and mark the third major revision to the law; the Chinese trademark body of law, which was created in 1982, was amended in 1993 and 2001. Such revisions, especially the ones that address bad faith applications, are positive for designers and design houses, many of which have been subject to extensive trademark infringement schemes.
You may recall that the designers behind Italy-based design house DSQUARED2 were involved in a fairly lengthy legal battle (and technically, still are), after they were denied the right to operate in China, as Nuohe (a China-based business) had already trademarked the DSQUARED2 name. Other brands, such as Costume National, Iceberg and Dior Homme, have also been targeted. NYC-based Phillip Lim has experienced similar problems, as well, forcing him to adopt a China-specific trademark because someone else beat him to registering his name in China - there is legal action pending in that case, too.
In short, while the Chinese trademark system likely still needs quite a bit of work, this latest revisions seems to be a step in the right direction in terms of protecting original intellectual property.