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COA takes steps to protect Taiwanese trademarks


    In response to recent media reports on the problem of China businesses pirating Taiwanese agricultural products' trademarks, the Council of Agriculture (COA) said it hopes the issue will be addressed in the upcoming talks between Taiwan and China.

    Some of the Chinese businesses that have appropriated Taiwanese tea products'  trademarks -- many of which  use uniquely Taiwanese features in their names -- did so by registering them in China before the Taiwanese owners did.

    The COA noted that since 2005 it has helped to retain four of eight disputed trademarks for products from major tea-producing areas in Taiwan.

    Other successes have included  brands of Taiwan Chihshang  rice, Gukeng coffee, Siluo soy sauce and Yenchao guavas, all of which were registered by Chinese profiteers seeking to make money on the backs of the quality Taiwanese brands, the COA said.

    However, the Chinese businessmen who registered the trademarks for Taiwan's Chihshang rice and Gukeng coffee have refused to abide by the rulings handed down by the Chinese authorities, according to the Council.

    The Council said it is doing its best to help the Taiwan owners in the two cases retain their trademarks through China's legal processes.

    The COA said it hopes that the settlement and prevention of such disputes will be addressed in the next round of cross-strait dialogue.

    It noted that under the principle of territoriality, trademarks are only protected within certain territories after they are registered.

    Under the circumstances, the Council has been providing guidance and advice to local governments, organizations and businesses on registering their trademarks both at home and abroad.

    In fact, 15 trademarks for Taiwanese agricultural products have been successfully registered in China, the COA said, noting that they include Alishan Tea, Siluo Jhuoshuei rice, and Penghu high quality seafood.

    In the meantime, the Council will focus on helping Taiwanese businesses to retain their trademarks internationally. Furthermore, in an effort to create highly distinctive marketing and improve product protection, the Council this year registered its "Certified Agricultural Standards (CAS)" label for Taiwan's premium agricultural and organic products, and its "Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP)" mark for safe vegetables and fruits in China.

    These steps by the COA will help Taiwan's agricultural products to expand on the China market.

    The COA also stressed that it giving much attention to the protection of Taiwan agricultural products' certification mark and has adopted measures to advise local business. The recent media reports on trademark disputes were mainly based on some incorrect information and  misunderstandings, the COA said.