Trademark protection in general
A trademark identifies the brand owner of a particular product or service and gives its owner the legal rights to prevent the trademark’s unauthorized use. It is a very important intangible assets of a brand in terms of market entry and business development in any territory. Most of brand owners nowadays do understand the importance of a trademark protection on the international scope.
Trademark protection in China
No matter whether China is your market to entry or not at the immediate stage, trademark protection in China is a non-negligible subject for every international brand owner to pay good attention to. This is especially relevant for retail brands who may sell products to China now and in the future.
Why trademark protection in China?
The trademark protection in the Chinese territory doesn’t fall automatically into an international trademark package of a brand unless the brand owner specifically includes China into the protection scope. For the trademark protection in the Chinese territory, China adapts a “first to file” system for trademark registration. This means that China does not recognize any trademark right unless it is registered in China. The only official source to accept trademark registration application is the Trademark Office of The State Administration for Industry & Commerce of the People’s Republic of China. Who files up an effective application of a certain trademark at the Trademark office will be in the priority to obtain the ownership of the applied trademark in China. As a consequence, brands must register their trademark at the Trademark Office of The State Administration for Industry & Commerce of the People’s Republic of China to have any trademark protection in China.
What is the consequence if you failed to register your trademark in China?
Due to the “First to file” system, any legal entity in China has the right to register any trademark that is internationally existing and owned by any brand but not yet registered in China. Actually many Chinese companies are doing this “rash registration” activities before international brands realize the importance. Once they obtain the trademark’s ownership in China, they can prevent the original brand owner from using that trademark in China, or asking for a license fee in order for the original brand owner to use that trademark. In an even worse case, your products may even not able to enter the Chinese market if the Chinese company succeeded in the “rash registration” file up the trademark at the China customs. This will certainly restrict the strategic development of a brand in the Chinese market.
How does the trademark registration work in China?
Applications of a trademark registration can be made to the Trademark Office of The State Administration for Industry & Commerce of the People’s Republic of China via any authorized agency. The whole procedure will experience the below major stages:
– Preparing documents
– Handing in the application & obtaining the Receipt of the Trademark Application Form
– Case being officially accepted and being handled for investigation & examination
– Getting the final result of approval or rejection