Registering your trademark is an important step in protecting your brand and launching a successful business or division in China. Although counterfeit products are very common in China, the country only protects registered trademarks. For this reason, it is essential to go through the process of registering your trademark.
Trademarks Protect Your Brand
Registering a trademark is essential when doing business in China because trademarks protect your brand. This mark establishes that a product or service is specifically associated with a particular business.
A trademark provides certain legal protections to its owner, including remedies if someone infringes upon your trademark. Additionally, this mark makes the brand stronger because customers associate a particular product or service with a business.
Property that Qualifies for Chinese Government Recognition and Protection
Chinese trademark law recognizes the following for registered trademarks:
- Logos and symbols that distinguish particular goods or services as belonging to a business owner, organization or legal entity in China
- Words, designs, letters, numbers, or 3D symbols that are unique and are associated with your business or product
- Combinations of colors that denote association with a particular business, good or service
There are more specific requirements that potential trademarks must meet in order to qualify for protection.
Top Reasons to Register Your Trademark in China
There are many reasons to consider registering your trademark in China. Some of the top reasons include:
Claim Your Brand Name
China does not recognize trademarks that are registered in another country. Simply manufacturing products in China does not protect you from your brand name being used without your authorization.
More specifically, China is a first-to-file jurisdiction, meaning that if you do not claim your trademark, another person or business can register it. This can result in you having to pay this person or entity once you start selling your products.
By claiming your trademark, you will be able to establish the connection between your products and your business. You should not have to be forced to buy the rights to your own ideas, so quickly filing to register your trademark in China can help you avoid this injustice.
Even if you are not yet ready to launch your business in China, you can still go ahead and seek legal protection for your brand now to prevent infringement.
Receive Protection from Customs
As stated previously, the Chinese government does not recognize trademarks, patents, or other registrations that are only in other countries. Products can be considered counterfeit goods and Chinese Customs can seize them if you do not have a registered trademark in China, even if you are selling a well-known product that is recognized internationally.
Foreign trademarks do not typically have legal protection or relevance in China. The only way to prevent your goods from potentially being seized is to register your trademark in China.
Protect Your Brand Before It’s Too Late
Because many business owners understand the important role that the Chinese market plays, they have filed for protection in this country. The trademark registration process in China has seen a steady increase during the 21st century. In 2017, there were more than 5 million trademark applications filed with the Chinese government. Between 2013 and 2017, there was a 55.7% increase of trademark registration applications in China.
There are more trademark applications in China than anywhere else in the world. There are currently more than 17 million foreign owned businesses that have registered trademarks in China. All of this means that the opportunity to protect your brand is becoming more remote, so it is important not to delay the process.
Enter the Chinese Market with Confidence
Registering your trademark in China will make it easier for you to enter the marketplace. You will not have to wait on delays once you are ready to launch your Chinese business or division. By being proactive, you can enter the marketplace from a position of confidence.
Establish Legal Remedies in Case of Trademark Infringement
Another important reason to register your trademark is to acquire legal rights against those individuals or entities that infringe upon your trademark or steal your intellectual property.
Step-by-Step Process to Register Your Trademark in China
The Chinese Trademark Registration Law requires that anyone who desires to acquire to exclusive right to use a trademark must file an application to register the trademark with the Trademark Office. Registering your mark includes the following steps:
1. China Trademark Search
The first step in the process is to find out if your trademark is currently available in China and ready to register. Another business may have already registered your trademark. A China trademark search uses a national database to see if your desired trademark has already been issued to another business or if an application for registration is pending.
2. Trademark Registration Application
Once you know that your desired trademark is available, you must submit a trademark registration application. On your application, you must provide specific information about your business, product and desired trademark.
3. Trademark Search and Monitoring
The Trademark Office publishes trademark applications that successfully pass a preliminary screening. These applications are subject to a three-month objection period. If another business believes that your application is in violation of its trademark, it can object to the registration. The objecting business must establish that there are legal grounds to justify the rejection of the application if its approval would result in confusion or infringement. If the Chinese Trademark Office agrees with the objection, it denies the application.
If there are no objections during this period, or if the Chinese Trademark Office overrules the objections, the trademark is registered.
4. Trademark Status Search
While your registration application is pending, you can oversee the status of your application.
5. Appeal a Denied Application
If your trademark application is denied, you can appeal this decision, first on an administrative level and then to the People’s Court.
6. Use Your Trademark
You must continuously use your trademark. If you do not use your registered trademark for three years, anyone can file to cancel it.
How New Horizons Global Partners Can Help
Our expert team can assist with all aspects of this process. We can conduct a thorough search to determine if your trademark is available. We can file your initial application and provide targeted advice about the information you need to provide.
Once your trademark is registered, we can monitor it and alert you to possible infringement of your trademark. We also help businesses file an appeal if their trademark registration application is denied.
We can also help you determine your legal options if someone else is using your trademark, you wish to object to a pending application, or you are accused of infringing upon someone else’s trademark.