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How to Register a Trademark in China: The Ultimate Guide

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Assorted bottle trademarks on display

Do you realize that China is an interesting country where whoever reserves a trademark initially gets the selective rights to sell and circulate products? Hence, enrolling your brand name should be your need to run an effective and problem-free business in China.

Remember, a trademark is your business's identification and recognition. It’s how your consumers recognize your brand. So regardless of the number of organizations selling fake items, you need to secure your business's character encroachment and infringement by enlisting a brand name.

If you’re still wondering why and how to do that, don’t worry! We’ve got your back. In this blog, we’ve compiled the step-by-step process to register a trademark in China.

5 Good Reasons to Register a Trademark in China

Registering a trademark in China is often ignored by the manufacturers and exporters. However, trademark registration plays an essential role in protecting and recognizing your distinct business identity in the country.

Here are the top five reasons why you should register a trademark in China.

Reason # 01: Trademarks Legalize and Protect Your Business

Your business enrollment in China isn’t sufficient for its approval. China doesn’t consider those organizations lawful whose trademarks are enlisted with different nations. Thus, it implies that you should enroll your business's brand name in China to appreciate legitimate status and other business assurance rights.

If you don’t register your trademark in China, any other company or business can choose your trademark and successfully carry out their business. Then you may have to pay these businesses and the Chinese government a significant amount on lawsuits and other charges.

On the other hand, if you register your business trademark in China, you can freely run your operational activities without being forced to claim your trademark rights. You can let go of this injustice by simply registering your trademark. Even if you don’t intend to start your business immediately, get it legalized so you can start selling anytime without any legal proceedings.

Two persons working on some documents

Reason # 02: Trademarks Lower Your Infringement Risk

As stated earlier, the Chinese government doesn’t recognize businesses carrying trademarks of other countries. Such goods are considered pirated, counterfeit, and bogus. Therefore, customs officials are instructed to seize them. No matter how popular or international your brand is, you’ll face infringement charges if your business trademark isn’t registered in China.

The only way to lower your infringement risk is to get your trademarks registered in China—your goods will move freely and smoothly.

Reason # 03: Trademark Registration is at Peak in China

Since the last few years, there has been a significant increase in the applications petitioned for trademark registration in China. Numerous entrepreneurs comprehend the significance of securing and legitimizing their brands. That’s why they have sought trademark registration in China.

In this regard, the year 2017 is notable when over 5 million trademark registration applications were filed in China. Moreover, more than a 50% increase was observed in the trademark registration from 2013 to 2017. It means that the process to file for trademark registration is becoming mainstream and widespread. You're also just one step away from protecting your brand.

Due to China’s strict adherence to rules and regulations, more than 17 million foreign businesses currently own Chinese registered trademarks.

Reason # 04: Trademarks Boost Your Business Confidence

Fears and risks deter many business owners' confidence. After registering your trademark in China, you can enter the Chinese market without any fear. You don’t have to worry about delays and checking. You can carry out your business activities proactively and effectively.

Reason # 05: Trademarks Allow Your Business to Sue Other Businesses

Finally, the last important aspect of trademark registration is you get the business rights to sue other businesses. Since your business is legalized after trademark registration, you can quickly sue other businesses upon trademark infringement and business rights violation. You can also run cases on other companies if they steal your business's intellectual property.

Step by Step Process to Register Your Trademark in China

The Chinese government has obligated businesses to register their trademarks to enjoy exclusive rights on their intellectual property and brand recognition. That's why trademark registration plays a pivotal role in enhancing business health.

Here is a step-by-step procedure to register your trademark in China.

Step 1: Carry Out a Comprehensive Research

Prior to presenting your proposed trademark, it’s essential to perform due diligence. You need to make sure your proposed trademark doesn’t match with other businesses or registered companies.

Therefore, carry out comprehensive research in this regard. You'll have to search on credible databases to find accurate data related to trademarks. If you wish to outsource the research results, you can hire an experienced and professional IP agency.

However, if you want to conduct this research yourself, you can take help from the following sources:
  • You can check similarities and other identifying factors among different trademarks here; and
  • You can assess whether your trademark meets the specific trademark registration requirements here.

A person designing a trademark on an iPad

Step 2: Prepare Necessary Documents and Applications

Once you've drafted your business trademark compliant with the trademark requirements of China, you can move on to assembling necessary documents and other material to file a registration application.

If your business is registered outside China and you wish to open a subsidiary here, you can hire our professional services for company registration, incorporation, and management. We make the entire application process for our clients smooth and hassle-free. You can either file your application online or on-site.

Following are the documents that you should prepare in advance:

Personal Information

The applicants should submit a document declaring their official name and address written both in original and Chinese language. Alongside, they’ll have to submit their passport copy and company’s incorporation certificate.

Power of Attorney

If you've appointed any agency to perform your company's registration, provide the company's necessary information and power of attorney document with the original seal.

Information about Proposed Trademark

Prepare a document containing the description, digital version, and Chinese version of the proposed trademark.

Business Goods Declaration

Describe the kinds and classes of goods and services your business will deal in.

Two persons showing their passports

Step 3: Submit Your Trademark Registration Application

Once you’ve prepared the documents mentioned above, you’re ready to file your trademark registration application via your hired agency. The agency has three options to apply.

  • By physically visiting the trademark office;
  • By posting or couriering the application; and
  • By applying online.

After submitting the application, you get a registered number to track your application status. If everything goes smoothly, the average time of application approval takes about 7-11 months. During this time, it’s better to remain in touch with your agency to monitor your application status properly.

Step 4: Wait until the Examination Process Completes

In the initial screening process that takes around three months, the trademark office checks whether your filed documents, proposed trademark, and business declaration material align with the essential requirements.

If your documents meet all the basic guidelines and you’ve paid your full fee, the trademark office issues an acceptance notice. If there need to be any corrections, the office notifies you through your agency.

Then comes the ‘thorough examination process,’ expanding to about nine months. A trademark examiner ascertains potential issues in your application. If they find any issues, they'll issue both rejection notice and denial reasons. Don’t worry; you can request an application review from the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board within 15 days after receiving the rejection notice.

Step 5: Some Potential Issues that You Can Face

If your application passes clean from the examination process, the Trademark Office moves forward to publish it on the Trademark Gazette of China. During this time, any third party can oppose your trademark within three months for the following reasons (but not limited to):

  • Your proposed trademarks carry some similarities to previously registered trademarks;
  • Your trademark violates some provision of the trademark law; or
  • You aren’t eligible to file for trademark registration.
Five business badges fixed on a bag

Step 6: You Receive the Trademark Registration Approval and Certificate

If no opposition claims are made against your application, congratulations! You’ve successfully cleared the trademark registration process. Your trademark will be approved, and the certificate of trademark registration will be delivered to your agency soon.

From then onward, you can enjoy exclusive trademark rights for your business. You can also prevent other companies from possible infringements and violations. Getting a registered trademark in China solidifies your position in the Chinese business market.

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Whether you’re looking for China joint venture incorporation or China Shanghai FTZ company registration, our professionals at Business China have got you covered. Our representatives have more than ten years of experience in facilitating our clients to own and operate their businesses in the world’s largest economy, China. Moreover, we’ve helped several businesses facing complexities and other issues while registering their foreign business in China.

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