China Trademark Registration
What is a trade mark?
A trade mark is a sign that serves the specific and primary purpose of identifying the goods or services of a producer, thus allowing the consumers to distinguish goods or services of one producer from those of another. The sign may be composed of words, devices, letters, numerals, three-dimensional signs (shapes), combinations of colours or any combinations of the above.
A strong trade mark can be instrumental in winning new customers when establishing a brand in China. Because you invest time and money into building the reputation of your company, it would be very damaging to your own business if someone else began using your name to sell their own products or services.
Information and Documents Required for Filing Purpose
- The name and the address of the applicant(If the name and the address are in English, please provide the Chinese translation; or we may translate them by ourselves).
- Clear trademark samples with size between 5×5 cm and 10×10 cm (a soft copy may be provided for our handling.)
- Designated goods/services in respect of which the trademark will be used.
- Power of Attorney duly executed by the applicant(Enclosed)
- Photocopy of Identity Card or passport of the applicant (provided the applicant is a natural person).
- Photocopy of identity of the applicant (provided the applicant is a company).
Procedures and Time Frame of a Smooth Trademark Registration
A trademark application for registration will go through the formality examination and substantial examination in China. If there is no problem, the application will pass the substantial examination and get ready to be published in the Chinese Trademark Gazette and be open for 3 months for opposition. If no opposition is filed or if it is decided that the opposition is not justified, the mark will be approved for registration and the certificate of registration will be issued.
The estimated time frame from filing to issuing of the Certificate of Registration will be about one year if everything goes smoothly.
It is important to note that China uses the 'first-to-file' system, meaning that you may lose legal protection in China if a similar mark has already been registered within China. Therefore it is essential for you to register your trade marks in China before entering into the market so as to diminish the risk of trade marks being registered by someone else first, or in other words ‘hijacked’. It is equally important to register early, as this process can take up to 18 months and a trade mark can only be protected in China once the registration has been completed.
China is a member of the Paris Convention and the World Trade Organization (WTO), so European businesses need to file in China within six months of filing of the same mark in Europe in order to keep the original application date, so called “priority date”.