Zhongnanhai is one of China’s most best-known cigarette brands. However, it has been locked in a years-long dispute with one of the country’s NGOs.
In September 2019, an NGO called Xin Tan Health Development Research Centre filed an appeal to the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) to invalidate Zhongnanhai Tobacco’s trademark on the grounds that it violated the trademark law, which states that trademarks should not be identical or similar to names, symbols, and the flag of the People’s Republic of China.
The CNIPA rejected the appeal in 2021 and decided that the Zhongnanhai trademark is valid and does not violate any law. In response, Xin Tan Research Center sued the CNIPA at the Beijing Intellectual Property Court, hoping to reverse the decision.
In March 2023, Beijing Intellectual Property Court ruled that the validity of the trademark should be reconsidered by the CNIPA, an important step towards protecting law enforcement and consumer rights.