What is trademark in China. What are registrable mark in China and How can register new trademark application in China ? Is a sound mark accepted to protect in China?
China’s economy is growing rapidly and become the second largest economy in the world. If you are doing business in or with China you should give serious thought to registering your trademarks in China. Brand identity is critical for success in China, and if you are going to protect your trademarks in China, you must register them. This is especially true in China where if you do not register your trademarks, someone is almost certain to try to appropriate them. If you have not taken the necessary steps to protect your brand, this theft will succeed. Hereinafter, we shall consult you about the law of trademark in China as follow.
What is trademark in China
In China, trademarks are logos and symbols that distinguish the goods or service of one entrepreneur or business owner, legal entity or any other organization in China
Registrable mark list
The following signs below are capable of distinguishing the goods or services of different individuals and organizations:
- Certain 3-dimensional shapes
- Get-up or trade dress
- Combination of all of the above elements
- Collective marks
- Service marks
- Certification marks
- Well-known marks
The followings are not the signs of registrable as trademarks.
- Marks that are against the moral standards or public order of China
- Generic words or terms
- Symbol, flag, or name of a state, nation, region, or an international organization
- Marks that lack distinctive qualities
- Marks that are used primarily to indicate a geographical location name
- Marks that may mislead consumers
Time frame for obtaining the trademark registration
The processing time from filing to trademark registration in China is approximately 18 months, including:
- Application: Every applicant is required to submit an application with the China Intellectual Property office.
- Examination: On submission the Trade Marks office will examine the application for statutory compliances. Applicants will be given two months time to rectify incomplete applications else it will result in an automatic withdrawal of the application. On completion of the requirements a filing date will be issued by the office. Substantive examination is done thirty days after the filing date for a period of 9 months.
- Publication: An application is published for a period of 3 months, on passing the examination stage in a maximum period of 10 days
- Opposition: Concerned parties are required to send oppositions concerning the subject matter of a trademark. The common grounds of opposition pertain to prior marks and infringement. Counter statements are required to be submitted within 2 months of the receipt of the opposition letter after which a re-examination will take place. The re-examination should be completed in two months time.
- Registration: On completion of the objections and opposition a Certificate of Registration will be issued subject to the payment of a fee. The duration of registration could take a minimum period of 12 -18 months. The registration is effective from date of application.
Why do you need to register trademarks in China ?
Although China does not officially require trademarks to be registered, there are significant benefits to doing so. Registering a trademark provides legal protection against counterfeiting and infringement and expedites your ability to enforce your rights.
Registration of a trademark also ensures that you are not unknowingly infringing on an existing mark. As a practical matter, without a registered trademark it will be exceedingly difficult to enforce your proprietary rights against providing reciprocal enforcement against infringement.
Besides, Chinese trademark holders refer to foreign brands by reference to Chinese versions of the brand, even if there is no “official” Chinese version and advertising uses only the English version. If you don’t have a Chinese version of your trade mark, you are strongly advised to create one and register it.
Otherwise, the local market will create one for you (which you might not like) and someone else might register it. It should be noted that the CTMO considers foreign equivalents of marks during the examination process.
For example, the Chinese version of the word BIRD could stop the English word BIRD from being registered for the same goods or services.
Please click here to know the fee of trademark registration in China. Also, you can visit here to see the procedures and required documents for trademark registration in China.
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