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  • mark goldstone

China Due Diligence - Trademarks - Protect the NHS Part 2

We wrote a recent post here about China's first to file trademark system.

We closed out that article with, "Most scary of all is that as far as anyone in our network knows no one has thought to protect those 3 small letters NHS !"

Well we have further news someone has registered NHS within their name in China.

To be be precise Beijing Wenbo Yuanda Digital Technology Co., Ltd 北京文博远大数字技术有限公司 further they have registered in class 41 which protects their trademark for use in the following categories which are probably the most likely areas of activity for the NHS in China.

410017 teaching / educational services / instruction services

410048 providing information in the field of education

410091 online publication of electronic books and journals

410017 Medical training and teaching

410017 teaching / educational services / instruction services

410051 organization of exhibitions for cultural or educational purpose

410199 Publication and distribution of scientific papers related to medical technology

So out of curiosity we gave Beijing Wenbo Digital Technology Co a call and spoke with the owner Mr Wang 王伟. who it turned out was convivial and happy to talk with us.

So the NHS hasn't been deliberately, "squatted" Mr Wang's company works on digitising museum exhibitions for viewing online. His use of NHS is coincidence - an old project from some years before and he doesn't actually use it now. As he has no intention of using it in the future he would be happy to sell and arrange a transfer via his lawyers (yes we have all the details)

So what does all this mean?

Well Mr Wang could potentially assert his rights and request that NHS organisations desist from using his trademark in the People's Republic though he has shown no signs of doing this so far. It should be noted however there are a variety of legal complexities here too nuanced for the scope of this article.

For NHS Trusts active in China it is still very likely that you can protect your trust name in the format "blah blah Foundation Trust" or similar along with your logo and Chinese name.

There are many high quality registered trademark lawyers that can help with this including our very own Michael Qu.

As far as the NHS itself the process will be a bit more complicated and to some extent rely on the continued affability of Mr Wang.

Please protect your organisation in China - it's not unfair it's just different - a few simple and inexpensive steps which certainly includes protecting your trademark are needed.



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