Why Companies Should Act Swiftly and Appropriately to Register Trademark in China

China has had specialist IP tribunals in the Chinese courts to deal with patent (and other IP-related) cases. Since 2014, three specialized IP courts in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou hear all first instance IP matters in these regions. These courts include judges with IP training and background to facilitate the proceedings.

The Chinese government has pivoted to embrace the idea of protecting intellectual property and has tried hard to combat worldwide misconceptions about China’s patent system. These new findings indicate that trademark protection in China is stronger than once believed.

The “First to File” trademark registration system in China

Unlike the United States and other European countries, in China there is no prior-use or intent-to-use requirement needed before registering a trademark nor are common law rights recognized. China recognizes a “first to file” system, which generally means that the trademark right belongs to the first person who properly registers the mark in China. In other words, any party, whether or not it intends to use the mark in the stream of commerce, may register a trademark in China. In China, SAIC (State Administration for Industry and Commerce) is responsible to handle the applications of trademarks.

Trademark Classification Framework of China

  • If a trademark comprises English letters or Chinese characters, it is treated as a word mark and will be compared with other prior word marks to determine whether similar prior trademarks exist.
  • If a trademark is a device mark, it will be compared with prior device marks in accordance with the International Classification of the Figurative Elements of Marks (the Vienna Classification).
  • For composite trademarks that combine both word and figurative elements, the mark’s word and device elements will be examined separately.

Registered trademark helps to enter into a licensing agreement

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. Most of the renowned Chinese distributors will only form business relationship with the overseas enterprises whose trademark is registered in China.

Many people think that weak Chinese trademark law is responsible for the growing number of infringement incidents, but the reality is China’s trademark law already has a number of provisions to combat squatting. The truth is, when a foreign company comes to conduct business in China, either they don’t take trademark registration seriously or they take wrong steps on battling the trademark infringement legal disputes.

However, the good news is over the last couple of years, several foreign firms especially from the USA have won many trademark infringement cases giving hope to other overseas companies that a tougher line from Beijing is adapted to act swiftly and appropriately to the long-existing trademark squatting practice.

Always be in touch with the Chinese legal experts as it will pay high dividends. China is the country that has its unique legal system that can be hard for any foreign business owners to navigate. Accompanied with the expert China trademark lawyer is could be your best bet to defend your brand. Legal advisers will not only help you fight for your trademark rights but also give you necessary suggestions regarding the course of action you should take.

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Minimize your IP Risk with China Trademark & Patent Law Office

Intellectual property is the most important element of the top global companies. While doing business in China, it becomes a necessity for you to secure your trademark and patent. In China, you can apply for patent, copyright and trademark protection. If you wish to enter the Chinese market or are already doing business in China, it is recommended that you apply to protect your IP rights in China as soon as practically possible. Foreign companies need to be aware that you are always at the risk of trademark infringement.

Appoint a CTPLO for Protecting your Intellectual Property

It is strongly recommended seeking the advice of the China Trademark and Patent Law Office (CTPLO). The CTPLO aims in offering a fast and highly-responsive service along with the value-driven bilingual legal services to the foreign businesses. The success rate of the self-filed trademark registration is very low as the registering process is quite complex in China. The attorneys of the trademark and patent law office in China can assist you correctly on the trademark filing method.

The experience and credibility of CTPLO firms are just too vast and diverse that transcend over a broad range of industries. The level of accountability and credentials exhibited by the China trademark and patent law office are simply unquestionable. CTPLO firms are amazing in handling trademark, patent, industrial design, copyright, records of intellectual property with the Customs, records of intellectual property license and assignment with the China Trademark Office.

The main service of CTPLO is to handle legal affairs relating to intellectual property for the foreign clients such as

>> Applications for trademark registration, renewal, transfer, change,         license and other matters

>> Application, reply trademark dispute

>> Trademark revoked, reply, review

>> Applications for trademark registration, renewal, and more

In addition, the CTPLO firms also assist overseas clients as well as foreign law firms to secure protection on behalf of their clients in China.

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