How to register a trademark in China?

Why is it so important to have our brand registered in China when doing business with companies in the Middle Kingdom?

This is because there is a ‘first come, first served’ principle, which means that the Office will consider the application of the first person to apply for registration of a logo first. To find out more about filing a trademark application in China, please read here.

How to register a trademark in China?

If you wish to register a trademark in China under the national system, an application must be filed with the China Trademark Office (CNIPA). An application in China can only be filed by a Chinese patent attorney, such as those working with Trademark Partners. If you are not resident or established in China, you should use a professional representative. The application is filed in Chinese and specifies the products and services to be protected in each class.

What is the next step in registering a trademark in China?

    • approximately one week after a correct application has been filed, a unique registration number is generated for our trademark;
    • during the following 3-4 months, the Office issues a preliminary decision on the registration. If the decision is positive, it is published in the Official Gazette. If the applicant receives a reasoned refusal, it has the right to appeal – this is a separate process which takes 9-12 months;
    • three months after publication, if no one has filed a reasoned opposition, the Office issues a decision to register the mark. A trade mark certificate is then issued after a further month.

How long trademark legal protection in China last?

Trademark protection in China is valid for 10 years from the date of registration. However, if the mark has not been used for 3 years, there is a possibility that another party may challenge our right to use the mark by filing a trademark cancellation application. A logo registration will certainly be defended by providing evidence that our mark has actually been used in mainland China during the relevant period. This could be commercial correspondence, evidence of exhibitions at trade fairs, commercial contracts, transaction documents or an offer for our products on a Chinese e-commerce site. While these types of situations are not common, they are worth being aware of.

We hope our article was helpful if you were wondering how to register a trademark in China. It is important for entrepreneurs to be aware that trademark registration should be done before trademarks are displayed in China. Unfortunately, there are times when the Chinese take trademarks and apply for protection for themselves, i.e. in bad faith.

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