It is important to remember that registering your business trademark in the United States does not mean that other countries recognize your rights. If you wish to sell your goods in China, you must know how to legally protect your trademark there or you might discover that another party has claimed your trademark ahead of you.
China Business Review explains that some parties in China engage in trademark squatting by registering foreign trademarks with the intention of selling them back to their proper owners for a large sum of money. To avoid this possibility, you should know how to protect your trademark in China.
Protect your trademark early
Chinese legal authorities recognize trademarks by who was first to file them, so being first is essential to prevent trademark squatting. Taking early steps to register in China is important in general because sometimes Chinese authorities take a long time to process a trademark registration, which could delay your business efforts in the country.
Properly translate your trademark into Chinese
Your trademark may still be at risk in China if you only register your trademark in English. You should make sure to translate your trademark or brand name into Chinese. Also, your trademark should adapt well to the Chinese language. Since some English words do not properly translate their intended meanings into Chinese, you may need to register a descriptive version of your trademark that conveys the right meaning in Chinese.
Consider registrations for other trademarks
Even if you successfully register a trademark in China, a squatter could still cause difficulties for your business by registering other marks and brand names that you may want to use in expanding your business. If you anticipate registering other names, doing so as early as possible may prevent a squatter from interfering with the growth of your business in China.
Make preparations to litigate
Given how quickly information can travel across the world, news of your business might reach China before you can register your intellectual property, so you may still encounter trademark squatting. Preparing yourself to litigate in advance might help you proceed with a lawsuit as soon as you can. As an alternative, you might try to negotiate with the squatter, which could resolve the dispute faster than going to court.
Hopefully, early action to protect your intellectual property will help you avoid litigation in China over a trademark, but business owners who want to do business there should consider all the possible outcomes.