Strengthen the commercial protection of your brand.
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:
- China national trademark application with China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA)
- WIPO filing in any third-country plus a specific designation to China
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.
Benefits of registering a trademark in China.
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!
Why register your trademark locally?
- Business requirement: If you want to enter a licensing agreement with a local distributor or manufacturer, a trademark registration is needed. Most e-commerce platforms also require it.
- Local only: Chinese and Hong Kong systems do not recognise or protect trademarks that have only been registered overseas.
- “First to file”: In China, whoever files for a trademark first owns it. Proving that you are the first to create or use a brand overseas is generally irrelevant.
- “Trademark squatters”: It is a widespread practice in China for “squatters” to register international brands in bad faith, e.g. to re-sell the trademark for a high price.
- Court rulings: Chinese Courts have often ruled in favour of trademark squatters due to a strict interpretation of the “first to file” rule.
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
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
4. We submit your trademark application
Trademark registration services
How Acclime can help.
Acclime has helped numerous clients to protect their internationally renowned brands in China, Hong Kong, and other Asian markets. Our consultants can support you at each step of the trademark registration process.
We search local databases to check if your trademark or a similar one has already been filed or registered.
We recommend which categories of goods and services to register your trademark under, help you find a fitting Chinese transliteration for your brand name, and advice you on other best practices.
We handle all the documentation for a trademark application on your behalf. The timeframe for a registration is 6-12 months in Hong Kong and 12-18 months in China.
Trademarks are valid for 10 years after approval. We will remind you when your registration must be renewed and handle the process on your behalf.