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China Trademark Registration
Trademarks in China are usually awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, despite whether or not a company might be able to show ownership over that trademark. If it has been registered in China by another entity before your registration it will possibly be rejected completely. If a registration happens on the same day only the application received 1st will be considered.
Due to the often prohibitively great cost of trademark infringement litigation, whether a company plans to do business in China today or at any time in the future, it is highly suggested that they register a trademark for every piece of IP as soon as possible. While it may look like a far off possibility today, cases in which foreign companies have their trademarks registered by 3rd parties in China, even by partners like suppliers domestically, are many. Registering your trademarks in China prevents both litigation wherein a company requires to reclaim they are infringed upon trademark but also defends against litigation wherein other companies may file suit upon your company for trademark infringement.
Trademarks in China involve any of the following:
- 3D Symbol
- Combination of Colours
- A combination of all of the above
They will define goods or services provided by an individual, legal entity, or organization for a period of up to 10 years, renewed 6 months before the expiry of the trademark registration.
An applicant can enjoy the right of priority when applying for registration in China, following an agreement accessed between China and another country or an international agreement under which both of them are parties, for 6 months directly from the date on which the first trademark application was made.
The owner of a trademark has the right of priority for 6 months from the first day on which the merchandise on which the trademark is first put are presented at any international exhibition approved by the Chinese Government.
What Can Be Trademarked?
A name including personal or surname of the applicant or predecessor in business or the signature of the person e.g, the name Dhirubai Ambani can be trademarked.
A word which is not being directly descriptive of the character or quality of the goods / service. For example Google is a word which has been trademarked.
Alphanumeric or Letters or numerals or any combination thereof. For example 555 brand.
Image, symbol, monograms, 3-dimensional shapes, letters etc. For example the tick in Nike logo.
Sound marks in audio format. For ex the sound in the ad jingle
China’s Trademark Law
- Way to protect your trademarks and service marks in China: In China, you must register your trademark with the Chinese Trademark Office or online to protect your exclusive rights to that trademark. The Chinese trademark law system is different from other trademark law systems. The Chinese Trademark Law presents: “Any normal person, legal entity or other organization planning to acquire the exclusive right to practice a trademark, including service mark, shall apply for the registration of the trademark in the Trademark Office or online with Trademarkcart.
Types of signs can be registered trademarks: Any visual sign, it can be used to specify the goods or service of one ordinary person, legal entity or any other organization from that of others, including any word, design, letters of an alphabet, numerals, 3-dimensional symbol, mixtures of colors, and their combination, can be filed for registration.
One major change is that before 2002, 3-dimensional symbols or mixtures of colors cannot be registered trademarks in China, and now this section is readily available. Needless to say that, some specific words or symbols, like country names, international companies’ names, and symbols cannot be recorded as trademarks.
- Application First Principle: This law says that where 2 or more applicants apply for the registration of the same or similar trademarks for identical goods, the Trademark Office will allow the trademark application which is the 1st register. Where applications are registered on the same day, the preceding approval must be given to the trademark which was the earliest used, and the applications of the others must be rejected and their trademarks must not be published. Perhaps, where the registration of a trademark applied is similar to the trademark of another person that same goods that have been registered or examination or preliminarily certified. The Trademark Office will refuse the application and shall not issue the stated trademark.
Term for a registered trademark and trademark renewal: The period of validity of a registered trademark must be 10 years, counted from the date of approval of the registration.
If the registrant plans to proceed to use the registered trademark beyond the expiration of the period of validity, an application for renewal of the registration must be made within 6 months before the said expiration. Where no application, hence, has been filed within the stated period, a grace period of 6 months may be allowed. If no application has been registered at the expiration of the grace period, the registered trademark must be canceled. The period of validity of every renewal of registration must be 10 years.
Trademark Licensing: Any trademark registrant by concluding a trademark license agreement, allow other persons to practice his registered trademark. The Licensor shall control the quality of the goods in respect of which the licensee uses his registered trademark, and the license must ensure the quality of the goods in respect of which the registered Trademark is practiced.
Where any party is allowed to use a registered trademark of another person, the name of the license and the origin of the goods must be indicated on the goods that bear the registered trademark. The trademark license agreement must be submitted to the Trademark Office for the record.
- Trademark Infringements: Various acts develop an infringement some of them are like to use a trademark that is identical to a registered trademark in respect of the same goods without permission from the trademark registrant. Sell goods that he/she knows to bear a counterfeited registered trademark. To make without permission, representations of a registered trademark of another person and to sell such representations of a registered trademark as were falsified, or made without permission. Replace, without the permission of the trademark registrant his/her registered trademark and exchange again the goods bearing the replaced trademark. Lastly, cause in other respects, prejudice to the independent right of another person to practice a registered trademark.
When trademark right is infringed, what can be done?: If your trademark right is infringed, first, you can settle the dispute by consultation. if you are unwilling to resolve the matter by consultation or the consultation fails, second, you may initiate legal proceedings in the People’s Court or request the regulatory authority for industry and commerce for actions.
The Administration of Industry and Commerce (AIC) plays a remarkably important role in China to help business entities and individuals in settling trademark conflicts and infringement claims. AIC works on federal, provincial and municipal levels. It is the principal government agency that is responsible for corporation registration, fair competition, and trademark and market administration, also practices other important functions. The AIC has the legislative authority to examine and handle any acts of infringement of the independent rights to use a registered trademark according to law.
When an infringing act is developed, the AIC must order the infringer to instantly stop the infringing act, seize and destroy the violated goods and tools specifically used for the manufacture of the infringing goods and for simulating the representations of the registered trademark, and force a fine. Where any involved party is unhappy with the decision on the matter, it or he may file a lawsuit in the People’s Court according to the Official Procedure Law of the People’s Republic of China.
- Criminal Penalty: If any party or person applies for your trademark, without the authorization from the trademark registrant the case will be serious as to constitute a crime, he/she will be prosecuted. According to law, for his/her criminal liabilities will add to his/her pay for the damages suffered by the infringing.
It is preferable that you apply for the trademark as an individual. In a case of a proprietor or company, if you close or change the name of the business, your trademark will become invalid. However, in a case of an individual, this problem won’t arise.
Procedure For Trademark Registration
Complete our trademark Form
You need to fill our simple online trademark application form & submit documents.
Step Registering Trademark in China
Step 1: China Trademark Search
We give an availability search for related pending or registered earlier trademarks. The report comprises an Assessment from a lawyer trained in trademark law about the registrability of a trademark and the risk of collision with trademarks previously registered.
Step 2: Trademark Status Search
Managing the status of your registration is a bold act to have an update on the process. We can give you a status report for your trademark or you may use our website to do the search yourself. Also, put your trademark into the categories of Trademark class that i.e. out 45 categories pick the fitted category for you.
Step 3: Trademark Application
We prepare the trademark registration application in mainland China. The all-inclusive cost includes our attorney fees and the government fee, thinking no refusal or opposition.
Step 4: Application Approval
When the documents are filled, completed and submitted we will further transfer your application to the trademark authority. They will approve it or reject it this will take a few months.
Copy of Applicant’s Id and address proof
Copy of the business/company certificate
Letter of power of attorney
Print and digital version of proposed trademark
Copy of the passport of applicant
Trademark Renewal Procedure in China
The registered trademark has a validity period of 10 years from the registration date in China. The trademark owner can demand to renew the mark within 1 year before the expiration date. If the mark is not renewed in the specified time, the trademark can still be renewed in the grace period of 6 months after the expiration date. If the trademark is still not renewed in the grace period, it will be rejected by the China Trademark Office, permanently.
l of trademark registration, the candidate must file with the Trademark Office an Application for Renewal of Trademark Registration. After review and approval of the application for the renewal of trademark registration, the Trademark Office must issue the applicable certificate and publish it. The period of validity of a renewed trademark must be calculated from the day after the expiration of the previous period of validity of the said trademark
Requirements for trademark renewal in China:
- The scan copy of the trademark owner’s identity certificate. Individual needs the personal, while the company needs the company certificate/business license
- A scanned copy of the trademark registration certificate
- The official fee for the trademark renewal
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