Trademark Registration in China – Choosing A Company Name

The Madrid System is a way to register & manage a mark for your business worldwide. A single application in a particular language needs to be filed as per Madrid System in replacement of paying a set of fees to protect the mark for your company. Managing your portfolio of marks through one centralised system is all about Madrid system. But submitting an application to the Chinese Trademark Office (CTMO) is a much recommended option rather than the Madrid System. In case of China, the applications must include the applicant’s Chinese name, whereas Madrid applications have no such requirement. An organization has to spend money & considerable time to plan their Chinese branding strategies, whether it’s an overseas company or not.

It is not a big deal that a name of a company is not in Chinese and the management still wants to file a trademark registration in China. Most importantly it’s very much a preliminary step to determine the difference between the Chinese name of the organization and the products. Most of the cases a company name is the brand for the organization and in other hand sometimes the company name is imported. Secondly & and most importantly, an applicant’s Chinese name on a trademark application is solely used for internal purposes at the CTMO. It has no meaning, relevance, or effect in the outside world.

As an example: Apple had submitted a trademark application for “IPHONE” on October 18, 2002, and received a registration on November 21, 2003. This trademark registration was in Trademark Class 9 only, covering computer h/w and s/w. Apple first announced the iPhone in public on January 9, 2007 at the Macworld Expo in San Francisco. The first iPhones were available later that year in the U.S., but did not arrive in China until October 30, 2009, after Apple signed a deal with China Unicom.

If any organization doesn’t have a Chinese name and doesn’t even want to create it then that will not be an issue. The company can continue by using that name for any further trademark application.

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