Minister Rockhill to the Secretary of State.

No. 384.]

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your instruction, No. 159, of June 30, with regard to the rights of American merchants who applied for the registration of trade-marks during the short time that the tentative trade-mark regulations were in force.

On receipt of the above dispatch I communicated immediately with the consuls in Shanghai and Tientsin, directing them to ascertain the feeling of Americans in their respective ports on this subject and the importance they attached to rights based on such applications. The replies were naturally very vague, as the situation has never been clear to anyone. As soon as they reached me I sent my conclusions in my telegram of August 17, which I confirm, as follows:

August 17, 5 p.m.

Secretary State, Washington:

In reference to your instructions 159, I have inquired through our consuls Tientsin and Shanghai. They say American merchants are inclined to believe they may have acquired some rights by filing under provisional regulations. Chinese foreign office note of December 22, 1904, inclosed, does not apparently affect the fact that for several days application for registration was lawful. Japanese probably filed very many more than Americans; other nationalities may have also. For reasons given, page 2, paragraph 2 of your instructions, I advise acceptance German proposal.


I have the honor to refer once more to the legation’s dispatch No. 1788 of January 7, 1905, and to state that, though I consider the stand taken by the American Government from the outset has been right and just, I do not think that, as far as can be judged in the [Page 259]prevailing confusion, American acquired rights would suffer materially if the Government were in the interests of harmony to modify its attitude and come to an agreement with Germany and the other powers.

In gauging the importance of this discussion we should not lose sight of the fact that the purpose of these regulations is to prevent the manufacture and sale of spurious foreign articles by the Chinese. As a matter of fact, the Chinese do not manufacture fraudulent imitations of foreign articles, and a very simple enactment would be sufficient to avert this danger for a long time to come. As for the sale of spurious goods of foreign manufacture, redress should lie in taking action in the country of their origin or in the consular courts of those countries whose nationals import such goods and sell them to the Chinese, and with whom we have concluded by exchange of notes arrangements for this purpose.

I have the honor, etc.,

W. W. Rockhill.