Trademark registration
in China.

Protecting your brand name and thus safeguarding your company’s intellectual property is one of the key steps to conduct before entering the Chinese market.

Trademark registration in China

Strengthen the commercial protection of your brand.

We assist you to secure trademark rights timely, avoid legal issues, and allow you to use your brand name assuredly in China.

You can trademark your:

  • International brand name
  • Logo or graphic device
  • Chinese character equivalent of your international brand

How do trademarks work in China?

It is important to understand that each country in the world has a national trademark system. Whilst there are initiatives that facilitate cross-border application and protection (such as in the European Union), trademark laws are in principle a national matter.

There are two routes to obtain trademark registration in China:

  1. China national trademark application with China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA); or
  2. WIPO filing in any third-country plus a specific designation to China

Registering a trademark in China takes a first-to-file system. International trademarks are not recognized in China unless they are locally registered. Your company’s trademark should be distinctive and should not be similar to any organization, state, or flag. The China Trademark Office (CTMO) has an online database where trademarks can be checked if they are available for registration.

As China’s trademark system and classes are different from most countries, WIPO filings designated to China often result in rejections due to procedural and mismatching of subclasses issues. Consequently, no protection is granted, while a China national application of the same mark would have been granted protection. In addition, the process of approval through WIPO may take 9-18 months, while approval of China national filings usually takes 6-9 months. Therefore, we strongly recommend companies to file for China national trademark application.

China applies a first-to-file basis, meaning that whoever files first shall, in principle, be given trademark protection absent any similar prior marks. There are several legal grounds to battle bad faith applications successfully; however relevant procedures cost time, effort, and money. As a result, opportunists (squatters) often scour trade fairs and the internet and apply for trademark protection of international brands that they anticipate will enter the Chinese market in the future to sell their branded products or services and will turn to them to purchase the trademark rights. When these brands come, they often have big plans for China and no time to fight a legal battle. As a result, many reluctantly pay high prices to buy their own trademark back in an attempt not to waste valuable time. To avoid these and similar issues, we strongly recommend you to file for trademark protection BEFORE you are considering entering the Chinese market or do so immediately if you have already been exploring these steps.

Benefits of registering a trademark.

A trademark registration offers you exclusive rights to the use of your brand name. That means you can prevent others from using the same or similar brand name or logo in the Chinese market. This can be important especially when you have a popular brand name under which you sell products directly to consumers, as copycats may infringe on your trademark rights by selling the same or similar products.

Distributors or retailers require a copy of relevant China trademark certificates before you are allowed to sell products through their channels. No trademark registration in China often means it is practically not possible to sell your branded products in China!

Required documents

What you will need to register a trademark.

To file a trademark application in China, you will need:

  • A copy of the certificate of incorporation of the applicant

  • Signature of the applicant’s authorized representative on the POA
  • Graphic representation of your device (if any)
Trademark registration process

Simple steps
to register trademark.

1. We conduct a trademark search

Before filing your application, we will conduct an exact trademark search at the CTMO online database to ensure that your exact brand name is not already applied for or registered before.

2. We choose relevant sub-categories

We will also assist in making sure that the trademark covers all the appropriate products and services in every subclass following the International Classification of Goods and Services.

3. You sign the POA and trademark information sheet

We will prepare and you will sign a POA so that we can apply on your behalf.

4. We submit your trademark application

We will submit your application at the CNIPA.
Ready to get started?

Make us your reliable agent in protecting valuable local and foreign brands in China.

Non-binding & confidential
Not sure where to begin?

Schedule a free 30-minute consultation
on starting & managing your company
in China.

+86 21 6173 8270 (SH)

We are open Monday – Friday
9:30 am – 7 pm (UTC+8)

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