I need trademark monitoring

Trademark monitoring in China

Registering your single trademark in China or your entire portfolio is not the end of the task. Another should be to monitor the trademarks filed in the selected class or by the selected entities. There are several important reasons to do this.

The most important, of course, is to check early on whether someone is filing a trademark similar to yours. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be a competitor you know. It could just as well be your manufacturer, who you buy from under your brand, or a company/outsider. Identifying attempts to register similar marks will help you prepare in advance to defend your trademark. It is a good idea to monitor your own marks for similar reasons. Early detection of attempts to invalidate or cancel a mark gives you more time to prepare your defence.

It is also important to strategically identify emerging market trends by analysing filings. Conclusions drawn from observing which companies are applying for which marks, in which classes and for which products, combined with sector-specific knowledge, can be valuable in the context of competition between players, not only in the Chinese market.

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Is it worth monitoring your own trademarks in China?

Of course. Monitoring your own trademarks makes sense. It allows you to detect attempts to invalidate or cancel your trade mark at an early stage. This gives you more time to prepare your defence.

Why monitor trademarks?

Trademarks are watched for several reasons. The first is to monitor whether your Chinese distributor is registering the same or a similar trademark to yours. For the same reasons, factories producing under the customer’s brand (so-called OEM or private label) should be monitored. Trademark monitoring in China should be routine for companies that are planning to apply for trademark protection or are simply developing their trademark with a view to future expansion.

Can I check that the Chinese factory is trying to register my trademark that they are producing for me?

Yes, it is possible. The solution is to monitor which trademarks are filed for protection by the factory that produces for you under your brand.

Can I check that my distributor is not trying to file any of my trademarks as their own?

Of course! The only solution is to monitor which of your trademarks your business partner (agent, distributor or importer) has filed for protection.

What happens if my distributor or factory applies to protect my trademark in their favour?

When they do, it cannot be by accident. More often than not, the motivation for declaring the trademark of one’s business partner – no matter by a supplier or a manufacturer – is to tie them up and prevent them from doing business with others. Sometimes, of course, the aim is to sell on the rights to the trademark. If this happens to you, you have no choice but to fight for your trademark.

Why would someone apply for my trademark in China when in other countries I own it?

China is a huge market. By taking control of the brand, your distributor binds you to them (and not the other way around) by locking you out of changing distributors. The same applies to companies buying under their own brand. The factory that registers your brand will not allow you to outsource production to another company. It can also export additional products, for example to markets where you are not present and where you have not yet registered your trademark. Formally, it is the owner of the trademark in China and the goods will cross the Chinese border without any problem. If this situation applies to you, you should consider fighting to get your trademark back.

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