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MAC considering WTO action over China's copyright abuses

MAC considering WTO action over China's copyright abuses

The Cabinet-level Mainland Affairs Council is pondering taking action under the framework of the World Trade Organization to protect local tea farmers and manufacturers against trademark infringements by companies producing or selling similar products in China.

MAC Chairman Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said that his administration will soon invite other government agencies to discuss how to deal with a growing number of Chinese companies that have registered their products with the names of places in Taiwan, such as "Kukeng Coffee," "Hsinchu Rice Noodle," "Hsinchu Meat Balls," and "Chihshang Rice."

The most serious violations were found on Chinese tea products that bore the names of places in Taiwan known for expensive high-quality tea, such as "Alishan," "Yushan," "Sun Moon Lake," and "Hsitou," Wu said at at a Lunar New Year tea party given in honor of local reporters.

Citing a survey report, Wu said that China's trademark department appears to have have approved applications of trademarks bearing the names of those well-known places in Taiwan. Of these applications, four were filed by companies invested in by Taiwanese people and three by Chinese companies, he said.

According to WTO and other agreements, the names of well-known places should never be part of any registered trademark, as it might create a false impression of the origin of the product which is more than likely to have been manufactured in another place. There are already some brands of tea in China bearing Taiwanese place names, even though they are grown and manufactured in China, Wu said.

For this, the Council of Agriculture decided in a cross-ministerial meeting on January 17 to ask the Strait Exchange Foundation, to send a cable to its Chinese counterpart, the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait, asking the mainland authorities to stop processing more trademarks applications bearing the names of places in Taiwan.

Updated : 2022-01-25 06:31 GMT+08:00