Trademark has a value not only to the owner due to its distinctiveness but also to customers who associate this trademark to a specific product or service. Moreover, if a foreign company wants to enter into a licensing agreement with a Chinese distributor, the foreign firm has to register trademark in China first.
Are there any benefits from a pre-filing use of the trademark in China?
The benefits from a pre-filing use are minimal since rights are obtained via registration. However, the applicant can use this to demonstrate the mark’s distinctiveness and overcome opposition on the ground of non-distinctiveness.
Chinese Character Trademarks
In China, the Chinese language version of your brand can be just as important as the English language version. If you don’t have a Chinese version of your trademark, you are strongly advised to create one and register it. Otherwise, the local market will create one for you and someone else might register it. It should be noted that the CTMO considers foreign equivalents of marks during the examination process. Chinese written language is comprised of characters, each of which not only has a sound, but also a meaning. There is both a “traditional” set of Chinese characters and a modern, more simplified, set of characters having fewer strokes. China is currently using the modern version. So, it is advised to seek assistance from a trademark attorney for registering trademark in China.
Perform a Flawless China Trademark Search
When considering a new trademark, perform online China trademark search to determine whether others use that mark, registered that mark, or applied for a registration. Before you settle on a name, logo, or domain name, make sure it is not already trademarked. Check for the exact name you want to use, as well as similar names.
What rights does trademark registration provide?
A trademark not only gives the trademark owner the exclusive right to use the mark but also allows the owner to prevent others from using a similar mark that can be confusing for the general public. A trademarked name marks all of your products and services as yours and no one else’s and can also protect you from counterfeit products. In principle, a trademark registration in China will confer an exclusive right to the use of the registered trademark. This implies that the trademark can be exclusively used by its owner or licensed to another party for use in return for payment. Registration provides legal certainty and reinforces the position of the right holder, for example, in case of litigation.
Two important requirements after your trademark is registered in China–
First: Keep a close eye on the possible infringement of your trademark. Closely monitor third party applications for similar trademarks.
Second: Separately register the trademark with China customs. Unless your trademark is registered in China customs, they will not seize allegedly counterfeit products under your trademark.
Instead of doing anything by yourself, it is always safe to seek advice from the expert China trademark lawyers. Specialist trademark attorneys have better resources and efficiency to perform a flawless China trademark search. It will also likely cost you less to pay a professional to do a search than it is to defend an infringement that may result in an expensive legal battle.