The Chinese market is a large and potential market for investors to invest in. Therefore, the trademark registration in China is essential for enterprises to stand firmly in the market. The registered trademark will help to distinguish their goods and services from those of other entities, and at the same time prevent the act of counterfeiting that might affect the reputation and quality of enterprises in the Chinese market. In addition, the protection of a trademark in the Chinese market also brings an additional source of income for businesses when transferring the right to use the trademark.
Signs of trademarks that are not protected in China
- The sign is identical or confusingly similar to the national flags and emblems of other countries;
- Signs that are identical or confusingly similar to symbols, flags, badges, abbreviations, full names of state agencies, political organizations, socio-political organizations, political organizations social-occupational organizations, social organizations, socio-professional organizations of China and international organizations, without permission of such agencies or organizations;
- Signs that are identical or confusingly similar to real names, nicknames, pseudonyms, pictures of leaders, national heroes, celebrities of China or of foreign countries;
- Signs that are identical or confusingly similar to the certification mark, inspection mark or warranty mark of an international organization that such organization has requested must not be used, unless the organization itself registers that trademark as a certification mark;
- Signs that mislead, confuse or deceive consumers about the origin, features, utility, quality, value or other characteristics of the goods or services.
The necessary documents for registering a trademark in China
- Trademark registration declaration in China;
- Trademark sample;
- Claim of priority (if any) and its supporting documents;
- Notarized authorization letter.
The process of trademark registration in China
- 02 to 03 months from the filing date, the Chinese Trademark Registry will issue a Form Test Notice (This notice is the Notice of Acceptance of a valid application if the trademark registration dossier is acceptable in formality);
- 2 months from the date of receipt of the decision to accept a valid application, the trademark will be posted on the Industrial Property Official Gazette.
- 10 – 12 months from the date of publication on the Official Gazette of Industrial Property, the Chinese trademark registration agency will issue the Notice of Content Test Results;
- After 02-03 months from the date of the Notice of Content Test Results which states that the trademark meets the protection criteria, a Trademark Registration Certificate will be issued to the applicant.
However, the time mentioned above does not include the time to supplement the missing documents (if any) and the complaints during the application process (the letter or application from the complaint must be certified by the Chinese trademark registrar’s certification).
In addition, the time needed for a successful trademark registration may depend on the examination process of the Chinese trademark registrar, the time it takes for the applicant to correct and supplement the formal deficiencies of the application, the processing time of complaint letter against the notice of examination of unreasonable content of the Chinese trademark registration agency.
You can find a list of China IP firms here