In order to protect your brand and associated intellectual property, it is essential to register your company’s trademark in China. Trademark registration in China further gains in importance as the Chinese authorities do not recognize trademarks that are registered in other countries. Therefore, an internationally recognized brand will not be protected in China unless the company applies for a domestic trademark.
Trademark registrations in China are arranged according to a first-to-file system. This means that if a company does not claim their trademark, another person or business can register it. If a company’s trademark has already been registered by another party, the company can not use its own brand without risking prosecution by the legal holder of the trademark. When a trademark has already been registered, the company will have to reach an agreement with the trademark holder to pay a licensing fee or to buy the trademark, which will result in high costs for the company. Therefore, we advise companies to file for a trademark registration as soon as the company considers entering the Chinese market, even before setting up an entity.
According to the Trademark Law of the People’s Republic of China, a trademark is defined as any sign capable of distinguishing the goods or services of a natural person, legal entity or any other organization from that of others. Trademarks can include any word, design, letters of an alphabet, numerals, three-dimensional symbols, combinations of colors, or any combination of the aforementioned. Therefore, we generally advise foreign companies entering the Chinese market to apply for trademarks relating to their international brand name, Chinese brand name, company logo and any slogans.
Our Trademark Services
Before proceeding with the trademark application, a trademark search should be conducted to identify if the trademark is currently still available and ready to register. As such we can establish whether the trademark has already been issued to another party or if an application is pending.
Trademark application preparation
Once it is established that the trademark is still available, the company prepares the official trademark registration application. Firstly, the company must establish whether it desires to register the trademark through the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) or the China Trademark Office (CTMO). During the preparation phase it is essential to select the correct product or service subclass. Mismatching of subclasses can easily result in rejection of the application. Moore – MS Advisory supports businesses in the preparation of the official application, ensuring all required steps are completed and required documents are correctly prepared.
Trademark application submission
After the application documents have been prepared and signed by the applicant, we will submit your application to the designated authority.
Renewal of trademark registration
Upon acceptance of the trademark application, it will be valid for a period of 10 years. After the term expires, the company must renew its application. If the company fails to do so, other companies may file an application for the trademark, meaning the company will be at risk of losing the trademark. Additionally, it is important to note that if a trademark isn’t used in business for three years, other parties can file to cancel the existing trademark registration.
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