Are you doing business in China and still haven’t registered your trademark yet? You are taking a huge risk. In the year 2016, Apple Inc. involved in a few IP infringement cases in China that it has lost. If you are looking to expand your business activities in China, you must give top-priority to trademark registration and brand protection of your business.
Someone Could Take Away Your Trademark-
China’s first-to-file trademark system means that companies who are thinking of doing business in China need to be proactive in protecting their trademarks. The Chinese system means that trademark squatting is common as it awards trademark rights to the first party to apply, rather than first to use. If you show any lethargy in trademark registration in China, there is a great chance that someone else could take it under your nose.
Your Take Down Request will be Granted-
If a company’s trademark is registered in the US and EU except China, ecommerce site like Alibaba can grant your request to take down an infringed listing of your product. But to remove listings from domestic Chinese e-commerce sites like Taobao and 1688.com you almost always need a Chinese trademark registration. Registering your trademark in China will enable you to take down counterfeit products sold on Chinese sites.
Protect Your Business from Chinese Copycats-
China is the land of copycats and one could find the cloned version of almost any product and brand. McDonalds, Apple, Tesla or Mercedes- top global brands find their duplicate models in China and got involved in a long legal battle. Even Donald Trump had a long-standing battle with a Chinese businessman, who registered the name “Trump” in China. So don’t learn from the hard way. By registering your trademark in China, you can protect your business name, product names, Domain names, logos and slogans. The decision to Trademark is likely one of the most important business decisions you will make while doing business in China.
How Can You Register Your Trademark in China-
If you know the actual process, registering your trademark in China could be absolutely painless. The very first thing you need to do is to make sure that no similar or identical trademarks exist or have already be registered. You must also be aware of the different loopholes in registering trademark. The Chinese Trademark Law provides: “Any natural person, legal entity or other organization intending to acquire the exclusive right to use a trademark, including service mark, shall file an application for the registration of the trademark with the Trademark Office”.
The following materials are required for an application and must be filled out only in Chinese and signed and stamped with the company’s official seal:
- Trademark registration form (or Power of Attorney if applying via an agency)
- A copy of the company’s certificate of incorporation
- The company’s name and address supplied in English and Chinese
- Company director’s signature
- Six copies of printed digital version of proposed trademark
- Category of proposed trademark and 10 auxiliary categories
- Trademark explanation
Before it gets too late it is better to give serious thinking about registering your trademark in China. It has been noted that most of the foreign businesses do not give importance to it simply because they don’t have any idea about the consequences their business may face if their trademark is not registered over here.