Brief Introduction of Trademark Registration in Mainland China
SPERTON China team highly recommends to register your trademark in Mainland China if you are doing business in China or manufacturing. Chinese government does not recognize trademarks, patents, or other registrations that are only in other countries. If your products are only manufactured in China and not sold in the Chinese market it is wise to registered the trademark for the manufactured products. In case you have not registered the name, the products can be considered counterfeit and confiscated by Customs during export process if the name has been registered by another Chinese / foreign party, even if it is well-known product or name in other regions. The only way to protect your name is to register your trademark in China in the relevant categories. China follows the same international category system for trademark.
Enter the Chinese Market with Confidence
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. Once your trademark has been successfully registered, it will make it easier for you once you are ready to enter the market. By being proactive, you can enter the Chinese market with confidence and without delays. Be aware that if you do not use your registered trademark for three years, anyone can file to cancel it!
China operates on a First to File system on trademark registrations. This means that whoever registers a certain mark first will have the legal right to use it during the valid period. Each successfully registered trademark is valid for 10 years and can be renewed by paying a renewal fee every 10 years. A registered trademark in Mainland China grants its holder the exclusive right to use the trademark for goods and services for which the trademark has been registered. A word can be registered as a trademark as well as a picture or a composition of both. Chinese characters (a Chinese name of your brand or company) can also be registered as a trademark.
To register a trademark in China, an application for registration must be sent to the China Trademark Office (CTMO) which is a department of the State Administration of Industry and Commerce (SAIC).
There are some criteria and not every word or picture can be chosen. This is decided by the Trademark Office and they will also check whether there are collisions with other already registered trademarks during the registration process. Collisions often cause further expenses and time. It is important to seek professional guidance when seeking registration in China as the process is in Chinese and is considered relatively complex without professional help from a local consultancy firm.
SPERTON China can do the full trademark registration as it is not needed to use any law firm or other legal partner. We will start with a collision check of your desired name and mark and give advice for choosing a name or translate to a Chinese name with higher probability to be accepted before starting the registration process. This will help to avoid problems such as delay and extra costs.
- Collision check and feedback around 1 week.
- Prepare documents required for the application 2-3 weeks.
- From the application is delivered to the Trademark Office it will take approximately 3 months before we will receive acceptance of the application documents. During this time the Trademark Office will review the trademark and decide if more documents will be needed. During these 3 months other parties can submit an objection to the application.
- From acceptance of documents to final decision 9 months
The registration of a trademark can take approximately 12 months in total.
Contact us and we will readily help you!