Project Details
Funding Scheme : General Research Fund
Project Number : 17610018
Project Title(English) : Building a Robust Trademark Fair Use Mechanism in China  
Project Title(Chinese) : 在中國創建一個嶄新的商標合理使用制度 
Principal Investigator(English) : Mr Sun, Haochen 
Principal Investigator(Chinese) : 孫皓琛 
Department : Department of Law
Institution : The University of Hong Kong
Co - Investigator(s) :
Panel : Humanities, Social Sciences
Subject Area : Social and Behavioural Sciences
Exercise Year : 2018 / 19
Fund Approved : 540,500
Project Status : On-going
Completion Date : 30-6-2021
Abstract as per original application
We live in an age in which virtually all goods and services are merchandized through trademarks. Thus, the economic and cultural value of trademarks has increased significantly, as they have become part of our daily lives and core assets for many companies. While trademark law protects the exclusive right to use a trademark, it also carves out limitations on that exclusive right. These limitations entitle the public to use a trademark without obtaining permission from, and paying remuneration to, the trademark owner. They are of critical importance to the protection of consumer welfare and cultural freedom. Despite the crucial importance of limitations on trademark rights to protecting the public interest, the Chinese law governing those limitations remains woefully underdeveloped. The Chinese Trademark Act, for example, permits only the descriptive use exemption without protecting other types of non-infringing trademark uses such as nominative use and parodic use. The Trademark Act also lacks necessary instructions on how to deal with the relationship between descriptive use and the protection of trademark rights against the likelihood of confusion or dilution. Through investigation of statutory provisions and judicial rulings, my project will identify the major problems with the existing limitations on trademark rights under Chinese law. In examining ways to address those problems, it will then explore how China can reform its trademark law by establishing a new trademark fair use mechanism. Legally, the project will suggest that the new mechanism should broadly permit not only descriptive trademark use but also other types of fair use such as nominative and parodic use. It will also shed new light on what China can learn from the European Union and United States in crafting proper legal standards for a finding of fair trademark use. Culturally, the project will examine the extent to which the proposed new mechanism will better protect the public interest and how it can promote two forms of cultural freedom in China, namely, freedom of expression and freedom to participate in cultural life. It will further demonstrate that the promotion of both forms of cultural freedom could effect positive change in the identity of both consumers and corporations, thereby fostering ethical branding and consumerism in China.
在我們生活的這個時代裏,實際上所有的產品和服務都是經由商標作買賣的。因此,商標的經濟和文化價值都被顯著提高了,因爲商標已經成爲了我們日常生活中的一部份和很多機構的核心資產。商標法一方面保護運用商標這獨一無二的權利,一方面也開闢出關於這種獨家權利的種種限制。這些限制使得公衆既不需要從商標權人手上拿到允許,也不需要付酬金給商標權人就能運用商標。它們對於保護消費者福祉及文化自由方面尤為重要。 儘管商標權的限制對於維護公衆利益有莫大的重要性,有關規管那些限制的中國律法發展仍然嚴重地滯後。例如,《中華人民共和國商標法》只允許豁免描述性的合理商標使用,而沒有保障到其他非侵權性的商標使用方式,比如指示性之合理使用及戲謔仿作。該《商標法》也缺乏應有的指引去處理描述性商標使用和保護商標權此兩者關係對於引起混淆或淡化商標的可能性。 通過研究法律條款和法治管理方式,我的課題將指出在中國律法下,目前商標權的限制所衍生的主要問題。此課題將檢測不同的方法去解決那些問題,並探索中國如何可以通過成立一個全新的商標公平使用機制從而改革國家的商標法。 在法律層面上,此課題將建議新機制應該廣泛地允許描述性的合理商標使用,以及其他商標使用方式比如指示性之合理使用及戲謔仿作。它亦將啓發中國在哪些方面可以向歐盟和美國學習制定一套用於裁決公平商標使用時的合適的法律標準。 在文化層面上,此課題將檢驗建議的新機制有多大程度可以更好地保護公衆利益,以及它如何能夠促進中國國内的兩種文化自由模式,分別是表達的自由和參與文化生活的自由。此課題將進一步地證明促進此兩種文化自由模式可以正面地改變消費者和機構的身份認同,從而培育國内合乎道德的品牌創建和保護消費者權益。
Research Outcome
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