Why is trademark registration in China important?
Many companies have experienced that even before they have started thinking of selling their products to China, someone in China has already taken trademark of their name or brand in China. And moreover, their products are already sold on one of the online Chinese platforms, without you knowing it.
What can be registered as a trademark?
A product or a service can be registered by a person or a company. This includes words, graphs, letters, numbers, signs etc.
How to gain a trademark registration and the process?
Before starting sales to China do remember to file for a trademark registration. Engage with an attorney who can help you with the trademark registration before selling your products in China. This process takes up to 12-18 months on average. A trademark registration is obtained by the Trademark Office in China. The process is as follows:
- Filing of trademark application
- Publication by Trademark Office
- Opposition by public registration
The importance of the trademark registration includes the following two major aspects.
The Trademark Law of China provides the registered mark with the most forceful remedies including but not be limited to injunctions, compensations, etc. By contrast, the protection to the unregistered marks will be very limited, with requirements regarding the famousness and substantial use of such mark in China by distribution and advertisement.
China adopts the first-to-file principle in terms of trademark registration, which means the registration of a mark will be granted to the entity who file the application prior to others, regarding, the identical or similar marks on the identical or similar goods.
As a result, the later filing of trademark in China by foreign trademark owners will very likely result in the loss of opportunity of registration due to the earlier application filed by other parties. Notably, Chinese authorities seldom consider the registration status or the famousness of a mark in other jurisdictions when deciding the restorability of a mark in China.
When I have acquired my Trademark registration – what is important to be aware of and act on?
When a trademark is granted you have the rights to use the mark and the rights to exclude others from using the mark according to the Trademark Law of China. The trademark commences from the date of registration. A trademark is granted for 10 years and can be renewed at the end of the term. Just be aware that you file for renewal 12 months before the expired date of the registration.