China will soon have its first sound trademark with the approval of the signature tune from China Radio International.
A man listens to music at a cultural exhibition in Shenzhen, Guangdong province. China's Trademark Law, revised in 2014, allows sounds to be registered as trademarks.Provided To China Daily
The State Administration for Industry and Commerce said on Feb 13 that the application has passed the initial review.
A sound trademark is a sound that can be used to identify the commercial origin of products or services. Compared with traditional visual trademarks, sound trademark resources have not been well developed, said industry insiders.
To comply with international trademark registration trends and protect independent innovations by enterprises, China's top legislature revised the Trademark Law allowing sound to be registered as a trademark. The revised law took effect in May 2014.
"Usually, significant characteristics in sounds can only be achieved after long-term use," said Li Weimin, a researcher at the Center for IPR Studies at the China University of Political Science and Law. "It means sound can be registered as trademark only when consumers have established a specific connection with the commodity or service provider based on such sound."
Sounds have long been protected with trademarks in regions such as the United States and Europe. Film producer Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer registered its iconic lion roar as a trademark in Canada in 1992. Others include the Nokia ring tone and the "Hello Moto" jingle from Motorola.
"Unlike written and graphic trademarks, the sound trademark has its own property that is within a limited time and space. It's not stable and hard to fix and save. And it can not be identified by the naked eye," Li recently told local Chinese media.
In May 2014, SAIC started to accept and review applications for sound trademarks. By the end of January, it had received 450 such applications.
With the rapid development of online audio, video and radio businesses and the game industry, the protection of sound copyrights has become more important, National Business Daily reported.
SAIC said it will promote more unique innovative Chinese sounds to grow into good brands to help enterprises better explore the market.