US trademark applications from China have grown "more than 12-fold since 2013," totaling more than all filings from Canada, Germany, and the UK. What's behind this huge increase? "Cash incentives," writes The Wall Street Journal.
It turns out that Chinese municipal governments are offering cash subsidies to Chinese citizens who register a trademark in a foreign country. Chinese citizens can earn hundreds of dollars for every trademark they register in the United States. According to the WSJ, the Chinese city of Shenzhen (a/k/a "the Silicon Valley of China") pays up to about $800 for trademarks registered in the United States.
It has been suggested that some of these Chinese filings may not be legitimate because they contain potentially fake specimens, according to US Commissioner for Trademarks, Mary Boney Denison. At a Trademark Public Advisory Committee meeting last year Denison said: