IP Offices around the world have an important job.  They receive applications for the granting of monopoly rights to inventions, designs and brands by the registration of patents, rgistered designs (design patents in the USA) and trade marks.

These monoplies place a burden on the public, because commercial activities within their scope become illegal. So, the scope of these monopoly rights are defined by government policy and the IP Offices have systems of examination and various administrative regulations to make sure that the scope of the monopoly is justified.

So far, so reasonable.  However, scaling these systems brings some challenges and outside of day to day regular activities, strange things can happen.

One problem with trade marks is with the register becoming more and more crowded.  Finding a unique brand name can be difficult.  In the USA, registrations are restricted to those rights which are in active use, so there are various requirements including the need to file evidence of use.  In theory, this prevents the register being filled up with “junk” registrations, leaving brands clear for those who will genuinely use them in commerce.

But in recent times, the USPTO has been swamped by a huge amount of trade mark applications, especially from China.  Their examination systems have simply been overwhelmed with the amount of work that is involved in assessing so many applications and there have long been concerns about applications not being legitimate. Over the past few years, the USPTO has launched some intiatives to resolve this, such as requiring applicants to appoint a local US representative.

These efforts to clear the register have also involved action against a Chinese law firm, Shenzhen Huanyee Intellectual Property Co., Ltd.  This week, the USPTO concluded an action against this firm and cancelled a staggering 15,000 trade marks from the register.

The basis for this was that the firm and its representatives had provided false addresses and had violated signature rules.

You can read more details of the case here:

We applaud the USPTO for taking this action and keeping the register clear of junk registrations.  The whole affair also shows the kind of things that the IP Offices have to deal with, and the importance of robust adminstrative rules and laws.


At Scintilla, we help innovative companies get a grip on their intellectual property. Our unique commercial approach combines registration of patents and trade marks with strategic input so that IP can be a springboard for business growth. If you would like to discuss your IP needs, do contact us or book a free initial consultation!