A trademark distinguishes your goods and services in the marketplace. Having your trademark registered is crucial if you want to prevent someone else from stealing your brand’s identity and reputation. If you plan on doing business in China, you must register your trademark as soon as possible. Trademark applications in China are at their historical record, and if you delay the registry, you may find out that someone else has already registered a similar, or the same, trademark.
The sooner, the better
In 2019, the China Trademark Office received over 7.8 million trademark applications. The number of applications is increasing considerably, and its fast-paced increase may leave legitimate business owners at a disadvantage. Even if not all of the applications are successful, you must act quickly if you don’t want someone else doing a similar registration before you do. If no one else has used a similar word, symbol or design to the one that identifies your goods or services, you may register your trademark with China’s Trademark Office.
Registering your trademark
A certified trademark agent or lawyer can assist you in the process of registering your trademark. They will be able to advise you on classifying your trademark in a way that best benefits your brand. After choosing the classification, the lawyer or agent will do a preliminary trademark search to ensure there are no prior conflicting registrations in China. If there aren’t, the agent or lawyer will submit your application to the Trademark Office, for which you will need:
- The trademark application form
- A power of attorney form
- A business license
- Some trademark samples
All documents must be in Chinese. Otherwise, the Trademark Office will deny your application.
Getting your trademark registration
The office will look at your application. If they approve it, they will publish the approval in the Trademark Gazette, a journal that everyone can read in China. The public has then 3 months to challenge your application. If no one challenges it, the Trademark Office will proceed with the registry. The term of protection for a trademark is 10 years in China, starting from the date of registration.
The term of protection for your trademark will be 10 years, starting from the date of registration. However, you must constantly monitor the market in case someone else copies your trademark. You can do this by reviewing the Trademark Gazette. If someone else uses a similar or identical trademark, you can recover damages by filing a lawsuit against them. Your idea should remain yours, and only with a trademark registration can you fight back against any injustice.