Cancellation of Copyright Certificate
Cancellation of Copyright Certificate is not straightforward
During daily business activities, the scenarios that the third parties maliciously infringe upon others’ trademarks and patents occurred frequently. For trademarks and patents that have been infringed by others, the right holder may, in accordance with the Trademark Law, the Patent Law, and other relevant legal provisions, file an application for invalidation with the National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) along with the provided proof of ownership and other evidential materials, after which the CNIPA will invalidate the trademark or patent that has been infringed by a third party in accordance with the relevant adjudication standards.
But it is not easy to cancel the copyright registration certificate of work if a third party has registered that copyright with China Copyright Protection Centre in bad faith.
As the implementation of the voluntary registration system for works in China, the works library of Copyright Protection Centre is unlikely to include all works that are copyrighted in China. Furthermore, the matching of copyright works is complicated, requiring a high level of professionalism in the relevant fields for the matching personnel, and is time-consuming. As such, in the actual examination of whether a work can be registered, the Copyright Protection Centre in China generally conducts a formal examination to confirm whether the application materials submitted by the applicant are complete and whether the materials meet the requirements, while does not conduct a substantive examination as this part of the examination concerns whether the work itself is a work protected by the Copyright Law, or has exceeded the term of copyright protection, or is prohibited from publication or dissemination by law.
In this regard, many unscrupulous persons, catching the point of the voluntary registration system, register the copyrighted works that enjoy by others through the Copyright Protection Centre in China and then obtain the copyright registration certificate for such works as to sneak into the market cheating around. At this point, the actual copyright owner or other interested parties who need to cancel the copyright registration certificate of the work will encounter many obstacles.
First, when applying to the Copyright Protection Centre in China for the “cancellation of copyright registration certificate”, the actual copyright owner or other interested parties are requested to provide the “original or a copy of the copyright registration certificate “. However, we are often unable to obtain the original or a copy of the copyright registration certificate of a work that has been registered by a third party in bad faith, or even the title of the work, the registered copyright owner, the certificate number, etc. at the time of registration of the relevant work, without which it is impossible to locate the relevant work in the works library of the Copyright Protection Centre in China and apply for cancellation of the copyright registration certificate of the work.
What is more, in the process of cancellation, the Applicant must provide official documents such as the relevant effective judicial decision or the administrative penalty decision made by the copyright administration department that can prove that the actual copyright owner is not the copyright owner as recorded in the registration certificate. Also, other documents proving ownership, evidence, and proof of copyright registration of the work registered in other countries submitted by the Applicant are not sufficient to cancel the copyright registration certificate of the work.
Therefore, it is more difficult to apply for cancellation in the name of the actual copyright owner or other interested parties of the work. As such, the Applicant is required to obtain a favorable judicial decision, or an administrative penalty decision issued by the copyright administration department by means of litigation or administrative complaint before the copyright registration certificate of the relevant work can be canceled. Considering the time and economic cost of litigation and administrative complaints, this prior requirement has undoubtedly increased the cost of safeguarding the rights of the actual copyright owner or other interested parties.
In summary, the cancellation of a work’s copyright registration certificate is not simple. Therefore, the author suggests that a relevant evaluation department be set up at the Copyright Protection Centre in China to hear applications concerning the cancellation of a work’s copyright registration certificate. During the hearing, if the evidence provided by the actual copyright owner of the work or other interested parties is sufficient to disprove the records on the registration certificate of the work, the copyright registration certificate of the work should be canceled without the need to provide official documents such as judicial decisions in force or administrative punishment decisions made by the Copyright Administration. However, if it is not possible to determine whether the two works are substantially similar or if it is not possible to overturn the records of the work registration certificate on the basis of the available evidence, the evaluation department should make a decision not to cancel it and advise the Applicant to apply to the Copyright Protection Centre in China for the corresponding cancellation after the Applicant has successfully established his or her rights through judicial or administrative channels. This not only reduces the cost of defending the rights of the actual copyright owner or other interested parties but also reduces the possibility of others filing cancellation applications in bad faith.