China Trademark Registration | Frequently Asked Questions- Part 2

Most of the cases it is noticed that foreign businesses pay less interest to registering their trademark in China. But it is very crucial not to forget that China does not provide protection for unregistered trademark under common law in recent days. The price of China trademark registration is colossal and the foreign firms having enterprise interest over right here simply can’t forget about the need for registering trademark in China.

After the previous article on tricky Q-A on China Trademark Registration, we are going to discuss some of the frequently asked questions on the mentioned topic over here.

Frequently Asked Questions on China Trademark Registration:

Is there a time frame for the trademark registration approval? 

The average time frame for the registration approval is 15 months, if no objections or oppositions arise.

If someone registers a trademark in China, will he/she gets protection in other territories?

No. A registered mark is protected only in Mainland China.

Is it necessary to sign a Power of Attorney?

Yes.

Are there any benefits from a pre-filing use of the trademark?

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.

Can an unused trademark registration harms latter?

Yes. A registered mark can be attacked on the ground of non-use.

What are the types of trademark that can be registered in China?

>> Words

>> Names

>> Devices

>> Certain 3-dimensional shapes

>> Slogans

>> Colours

>> Sounds

>> Get-up or trade dress

>> Combination of all of the above elements

>> Collective marks

>> Service marks

>> Certification marks

>> Well-known marks

What are the phases of application after a trademark has been filed in China?

There phases are there: 

Examination, Publication, Registration

What type of trademark is not registrable?

The following marks are prohibited from registration:

>> Marks that are against the moral standards or public order of China

>> Generic words or terms

>> Symbol, flag, or name of a state, nation, region, or an international organization

>> Marks that lack distinctive qualities

>> Marks that are used primarily to indicate a geographical location name

>> Marks that may mislead consumers

Does China use the “Nice Classification” system?

Yes. China uses the system of Nice Classification.

Does the Community Trademark apply for China?

No. Community Trademark does not apply for China.

Is it possible to cancel a registration?

Yes. The following are grounds for cancellation:

>> Descriptive mark

>> Misleading and/or deceptive mark

>> Lack of distinctiveness

>> Generic mark

>> Mark is a geographical indication

>> Functional mark

>> Violation of public policy or principles of morality

>> Unauthorized marks by competent authorities pursuant to Article 6ter of the Paris Convention

>> Inclusion of a badge or emblem of particular public interest

>> Using of the mark in a misleading manner

>> Prohibited marks in this jurisdiction

>> Application was made in bad faith

>> Registrant’s breach of a technical provision of the law

>> Fraudulent registration

>> Use Requirements under Section V.G. are not met

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Strategic Advantages of Registering Trademark in China

Often foreign companies pay less attention to registering their trademark in China. It is important to remember that China does not provide protection for unregistered trademark under the common law. The value of China trademark registration is immense and the foreign firms having business interest over here simply cannot overlook the need for registering trademark in China.

Protecting a company’s trademark is a strategic move in the long term and should be carefully considered. The trademark search is based on the public trademark database of CTMO, any search activities that processed in China are all based on that database. This database is comprised of all active and many inactive marks that were either applied-for or registered pursuant to the current Trademarks Act or former trade-mark legislation of China. The database includes additional words and designs which are not by definition trademarks, but that is protected by the Trademarks Act or other related legislation.

Protect Trademark Infringement with the Chinese Character Trademark

Unlike the US, China follows the ‘first to file’ system rather than the ‘first to use’. US companies work under the impression that by simply registering their trademark in the United States will be automatically recognized in China as well. Your takedown request will not be granted if you only registered it in the US or other foreign jurisdiction. You need to have a Chinese character trademark of your company while doing business in China.

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.

Trademark registration drives business value

Trademarks provide value beyond your core business. Trademarks can appreciate in value over time. The more your business reputation grows, the more valuable your brand will be. 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. Trademarks in China are valid for 10 years from the date of registration. Requests to renew must be filed within 6 months prior dates of expiration.

In China, the protection of the exclusive right to use a trademark is based on registration. Registration can be obtained either by filing an application directly at the CTMO (Domestic application), or by filing an application at the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) on the basis of a trademark registered or applied in another country than China.

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