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Registering and Protecting Your Trademark in China: A Step-By-Step Guide

China trademark lawyer

Before you enter into China market, it’s of great importance to firstly register your trademark in China. There are six distinct steps in obtaining, registering and protecting a trademark in China. Below we explain in details how to register and protect your trademark under Chinese law and trademark application practice.

First Step:  Conducting a Trademark Clearance Search

Before applying for a trademark, you want to determine if your proposed name is already taken. This process is called a trademark clearance search. You can retain our China Trademark lawyer’s service to conduct a preliminary trademark clearance search at China trademark Office ("CTO") website.

However, in most instances, if you engage a capable China Trademark lawyer, the trademark attorney should conduct an extensive trademark search for you. This is because trademark attorneys are familiar with sophisticated search techniques on the CTO's website, which may uncover existing trademarks that are close to your proposed name.

In addition, an experienced attorney will be in the best position to interpret the search results obtained from the CTO website.

Second Step: Filing the Trademark Application

Filing a trademark application can be done by retain our China trademark lawyer and we shall prepare all the documents and filing for you. You do not have to be an attorney to complete a trademark application and as such you can DIY. Though it is quite complicated job and we highly recommend you retain our service to do it. This is because completing a trademark application is complicated and if you put incorrect information in your application, you will not obtain your trademark.

An incorrect application may also mean that although you may initially obtain your trademark, subsequently the trademark can be invalidated for the incorrect information in the application.

 

Third Step: Responding to the CTO

After your application is filed, the CTO reviews the application and if they have any objections they will issue a notice so that we can make modifications or explanations. These notice have to be responded to and they have to be responded to correctly. A trademark attorney has the experience to know the right way to respond to the CTO's notice and how to overcome them. This is where a good trademark attorney earns his or her fee. In contrast, if you try to respond to the CTO's objections and you do so incorrectly, the CTO will reject your application.

Fourth Step: The Public Comment Period

Once all of the CTO's examinations are overcome, there is still one more hurdle to jump over before the CTO issues you a trademark. Your proposed name will be published for the public to comment on. This is called "publishing your trademark for opposition." By publishing your trademark for opposition, the CTO is allowing the public to raise any objections it may have to your trademark.

This is best illustrated by example. Assume that I want a trademark for "Likke", but instead of selling sneakers, my Likke store will be selling hamburgers. Perhaps the CTO will allow Likke as a trademark and will publish it for opposition.  Like® determining that the Likke name is too close for comfort, will inform the CTO that it objects or opposes your trademark application. If this occurs, before your trademark application is accepted, there will be a hearing/trial, where a separate division within the CTO will decide whether your Likke mark should be approved. A trademark attorney should be retained to represent you in this hearing/trial.

Fifth Step:  Keeping Using Your Trademark and Renew

If no one objects to your trademark or if you win the hearing/trial, your trademark will be approved and you will receive a trademark certificate. However, you have to keep your trademark current. This means that between the 5th and 6th year after your trademark approval date, you have to keep a record to prove that you are still using the trademark. Otherwise, anybody and request CTO to rescind your trademark because you are not using it for a consecutive of three years. We call it 3 year non-use. This is done by shipping a product bearing your trademark to a customer. Then between the 9th and 10th years after your trademark approval date, you again have to file a renew application, because in China trademark is valid only for 10 year unless you regularly renew it. If you fail to inform the CTO of your renew intention and application, your trademark will be cancelled.

A trademark attorney will keep track of when you need to update the CTO and will complete the renew application and any other necessary forms for you.

Sixth Step: Keeping an eye on the marketplace and prevent counterfeiting

In China, there are quite a lot of counterfeiting goods once your brand name and product is popular on the market. As experienced China trademark lawyer, we can support you to monitor unauthorized using of your trademark on the market, for example, keeping an eye on supplier who sells on in taobao.com or Alibaba.com. In case we find any counterfeiting, copying or unauthorized use, we can take all necessary legal actions of protect your brand and product designs. This is essential for your success business in China.

If you need more information about trademarks or need an attorney to help you obtain a trademark, China trademark lawyer Peter Zhu can help you. Contact Peter Zhu who specializes in obtaining trademarks and trademark law for a free consultation.  The phone number is +86 188 190 19636 and the website is www.chinalawblog.org

 
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China Lawyer BLog AuthorPeter Zhu, an experienced China attorney licensed to practice law for more than ten years, the author of this China Lawyer blog, welcomes any enquiry or consultation related to Chinese law.