Penalties for infringing trademarks related to coronavirus
Shanghai's market watchdog imposed administrative penalties on seven trademark applicants and four trademark application agencies for preemptive trademark registrations related to the coronavirus epidemic on Thursday.
The applicants applied for trademark registrations of Huoshenshan Hospital, Leishenshan Hospital and Dr Li Wenliang, which infringes others' prior rights and violates China's trademark law and related regulations, the Shanghai Administration for Market Regulation said.
The applicants — which include Shanghai Tubo Internet Science and Technology Co and Shanghai Diqi New Material Science and Technology Co — would be fined 10,000 yuan (US$1,412) each, the administration said.
The four agencies, including Shanghai Jiacheng Trademark Agency and Shanghai Jinshan Trademark Agency, would be fined up to 85,000 yuan for violating China's trademark law, the administration said.
Involved parties filed trademark applications although they were aware that the applications infringed the prior rights of others, the administration said.
Huoshenshan and Leishenshan are the names of makeshift hospitals built in Wuhan, the city hit hardest by the epidemic in China, to treat COVID-19 patients. Both have ceased operation as the coronavirus epidemic wanes within the country.
Dr Li Wenliang is known as one of the first whistle-blowers who warned the public of the coronavirus and later died of the disease.
Li is widely known in China, while the two hospitals were registered as public institutions on January 27 and have prior rights to owning these names, said Pan Lei, an official with the law enforcement team of the administration.
The Shanghai Intellectual Property Administration has ordered the four agencies to withdraw their applications.
Heads of the companies and agencies involved will face punishments as well based on China's trademark law, the administration said.