The Secretary of State to the French Chargé d’ Affaires ad interim.

No. 342.]

Sir: In my note of the 17th of February last I had the honor to inclose a copy of a memorandum regarding the protection of trademarks in China, in reply to the memorandum of the German ambassador of January 18, 1906. In a note of the 12th of May the German ambassador submitted some remarks of his Government on this memorandum, which have had my careful consideration, and I have now written to the German ambassador that this Government is prepared, on certain conditions, to withdraw its objection to section 25 of the project for the protection of trade-marks in China formulated by the representatives at Peking of Germany, France, Italy, Austria-Hungary, and Great Britain. I have the honor to inclose for your information copies of these two notes.a Upon the acceptance by the Governments named of the addition to article 7 as stated to the German ambassador, the American minister at Peking will be instructed to agree to the project formulated by the representatives of the above-mentioned powers.

Accept, sir, the renewed assurances of my high consideration.

Elihu Root.

aide mémoire (from the german embassy).

On April 23 of last year Mr. Rockhill informed the German minister in Peking and through him the representatives of Great Britain, France, and Austria that the United States Government found the project of a measure for the protection of trade-marks in China unobjectionable in any material regard excepting the proposed section 25, which reads as follows:

“All demands of registration made by means of the competent Chinese authorities before the going into force of the present regulations shall be considered as having been made the day of the regulations going into force.”

It was contended that this section might destroy the effect of registration filed by American owners of trade-marks under the trademark regulations heretofore published, and that the effect of such regulations should, in fairness to such owners, therefore not be impaired.

The representatives in Peking concerned in the elaboration of this project have given their most earnest consideration to the objection raised by Mr. Rockhill against section 25, but in view of the instructions received from their respective Governments were, to their great regret, unable to assent to the modification suggested by the State Department, by which such registrations filed at an anterior date should rank according to their priority.

The Imperial Government sees grave grounds for apprehension if section 25 is omitted or modified. The object of this article is to [Page 258]prevent such persons who are able, in consequence of the favorable geographical proximity of their country, to proceed immediately after publication of this trade-mark law with the registration of trade-marks to take undue advantage of such persons who, living at a greater distance, receive later information of this law and can only register their trade-marks after a longer lapse of time. The Imperial Government appreciates the view of the State Department that a certain number of American firms who have already effected their demands of registration might be in a better position, if the provisions of priority were based on the priority of date made under the trademark regulations heretofore published as suggested. It is pointed out, in connection with this, that several European firms are in this same position. In the opinion, however, of the Imperial Government such minor considerations should have no weight as opposed to the general disadvantages which would evolve from such admission of the principle of priority and which would affect the great, bulk of distant firms concerned in trade with China. There seems to be no doubt on this head that the interests of the United States move on the same lines as those of the other powers concerned. It is earnestly hoped, therefore, that the United States Government, after further consideration of the matter, may waive their objections with regard to section 25 of the proposed regulations and assent to the principle of delayed priority as provided for by that article.

  1. Inclosures to No. 159 of June 20 to Minister Rockhill (supra).