Business China

China Trademark

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The Chinese market has enjoyed significant growth over the past few decades and it continues to expand thanks to foreign investment and a low labor force. It’s easy to see why China has attracted many multinationals as well as individual investors who have entered the Chinese market to get their piece of the pie. The lucrative Chinese market has attracted businesses from around the world, and with its trademark laws, both local and foreign enterprises can enjoy legal protection for the products and services that they provide. Even the current US President Donald Trump holds an impressive 77 registered trademarks within China. So, it’s easy to see why foreign companies and individuals need to go through the China trademark Process before setting up a company in China for their own safety.

Foreign companies doing business in China need to know that China operates under a ‘First-to-File’ trademark registration system, which basically means that any unregistered trademarks are simply not recognized by China, and as such, can be registered by any organization or individual if it happens to be ‘vacant’. Now, you wouldn’t want some other individual or organization to get a China trademark registration for a patent that you own, now would you? This is the main reason why all foreign businesses that start business in China are required to go through the China trademark Process. 

A China trademark registration also helps distinguish products of companies from others and is a mark that is used by both producers and operators of commodities, which is why it is a crucial prerequisite for setting up a company in China. Owners of registered trademark product also have the ability to prevent their competitors or partners in China from using their registered trademarks without permission. The good news is, Business China will be with you every step of the way to make sure you meet all of the China trademark requirements. While foreign businesses looking to register their IPs look towards other means, only professional service providers such as, Business China can provide you with the peace of mind you need during the China trademark Process. Business China helps its clients in the following ways;

  • Preparation of necessary documents
  • Submission of application
  • Payment of trademark registration fees
  • Trademark form examination
  • Issuance of trademark acceptance notice
  • Trademark substantive review
  • Trademark announcement

Our main focus is in making sure our client’s goals are met during the China trademark Process, and at the lowest cost possible. 

China trademark
China has made sure that its trademark laws are in accordance with international rules. For instance, the China trademark Process is based on 45 different categories. This has been put in place so that foreign companies who want to expand their scope of service or protection of their trademark are able to do so with relative ease. That being said, they are required to utilize the categories of trademark registration.

In China, ‘TM’ remains to be the abbreviation of trademark and ‘R’ is the abbreviation of registered in English. Both ‘TM’ and ‘R’ are suggestive and are suggestive and normally appear in some signs in the upper right-hand corner or the lower right-hand corner. ‘TM’ states that the mark is used as a trademark, while ‘R’ is an indicator that a logo used is a registered trademark, and that it enjoys exclusive rights and privileges.
But, more importantly, that anyone who copies it will be in serious legal trouble with the Chinese government, which makes the China trademark registration cost totally worth it at the end of the day.

According to provisions of the China trademark law, the validity period of a registered trademark is of 10 years, and it shall be counted from the date that it got the approval. Under these provisions, if a registered trademark is valid and needs to be used, the owner of the trademark should apply for a renewal of the trademark within 12 months prior to the expiration date of the registered trademark.

However, failing to comply with this law, an extension of up to six months is allowed under Chinese law to give the business or individual enough time to get their registered trademark re-registered, or else, it will be canceled. This is the reason why the timely handling of a China trademark registration is so important. This is where the experience and expertise of Business China comes in. We can help individuals and multinationals with all their China trademark registration needs at an affordable cost, and will make sure that their trademarks are registered on time.

trademark registration

Trademark Registration Flow

  • Trademark Search
  • Initial Application
  • Substantive Examination
  • Publication
  • Issuance of Certificate

Required Application Documents to Register a Trademark

  • Application Form
  • Trademark Image
  • Power of Attorney
  • Individual Applicant: Identity documents and address proof
  • Corporation Applicant: Business Registration Certificate / Certificate of Incorporation

Duration of Application

12-18 months

Validity Period

The registration is valid for up to 10 years and can be renewed after that. 


Renewal application for 10 years must be submitted 6 months before the expiry.

Download: 45 Categories of Chinese Trade Mark Registration

In China, a trademark is the brand of a product and is a sort of identification mark that is added to identify products and services. A trademark can be made up of various characters, including; letters, numbers, figures, color combinations, three-dimensional signs, or a combination of all the above. It is important to note that a China trademark registration that’s taken in mainland China is only valid in mainland China. Hong Kong trademark registration and mainland areas are roughly the same. That being said, they can be divided into three forms: text (Chinese / English), graphics and composition.

What's the difference between TM and R?

“™” is the two acronyms of the English trademark, and also refers to the trademark. But this has no legal meaning and legal effect. Normally, a not registered trademark or a registered trademark can be used. Registered trademarks can also be used. A trademark is used to in a sense, “mark” a particular product that’s being provided by a company so that no individual or company copies it. In some trademark cases, it can be used as evidence of a trademark. It should be noted here that with Taobao, Tmall and other online platforms, the trademark is divided into the ‘R’ mark and ‘TM’ mark respectively, which refers to the registered trademark and trademark still in the process of application. 

"®" means a registered trademark. "Trademark law" clearly stipulates that "trademark registrant has the right to indicate" registered trademark "or registration mark" mark "®". If there is no registered trademark, then it belongs to a counterfeit registered trademark, which under Chinese law, could lead to trademark infringement.

According to the provisions that have been carried out by the Chinese government to protect businesses in China, the special right of registered trademark is protected by law. Needless to say, unregistered trademarks are not protected under China law, and therefore, their users do not enjoy the right of exclusive use of trademarks, or get any of the benefits of having China trademark registration. In other words, only registered trademarks are considered to be ‘industrial property rights’ in China. And as a result, only registered trademarks are eligible to be considered as the intangible assets of an enterprise after setting up a company in China.

The Importance of China Trademark Registration

  • A registered China trademark can enjoy the support of China laws, and can be used for financing.
  • A registered China trademark is easy for consumers to recognize when shopping for particular brands. It makes it easier for customers to identify the product brand and improve the popularity of the product. Meanwhile, a China trademark registrationis the basic requirement for opening the E-commerce store on Tmall, JingDong.
  • China trademark registration is advantageous when it comes to market competition, and in establishing enterprise prestige. This helps prevent infringement of the same category enterprises and protects the intangible assets of an enterprise.
  • The registered trademark of an enterprise is the brand image of an enterprise, which can help enterprises seize the market and expand their business scope.
  • Through the renewal of trademark protection, the value of the brand is not subject to theft. The formation of a corporate logo can create the first step to a deeper business impact and can also lead to a loyal customer base.
  • Those setting up a company in China are going to need a China trademark registration to scale their business.

What will Happen if the Trademark is not Registered?

  • Unregistered trademarks cannot form industrial property rights, so they cannot be used as intangible assets.
  • The most fatal weakness of an unregistered trademark is that the user does not enjoy the exclusive right to use the trademark.
  • Another problem with unregistered trademarks is that unregistered trademarks may be identical or similar to registered trademarks, which are used on the same or similar goods, thus cause infringement.
  • The initial user of the unregistered trademark is unable to use the trademark once the other person has registered the trademark first. According to the trademark law of China, the original acquisition of the exclusive right of trademark is only obtained through trademark registration.
  • In the case of an unregistered trademark, the exclusive rights of the trademark are granted to that individual or enterprise who applies for the China trademark registration.

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