Business China

Why Major Brands are Struggling with Trademark Registration in China

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Having a hard time getting your company’s trademark registered in China? You’re not alone!

More often than not, foreign commercial entities struggle with trademark registration in China. Even the most well-established brands in the world, such as Burberry or tech giant Apple have experienced difficulties in getting their trademarks registered in the country.

Some find this trend rather unusual, especially considering the fact that the registration process for trademarks in the country is fairly straightforward.

Here are some of the key reasons why renowned brands struggle with trademark registration in China.

Filing Comes First!

The trademark system in China is substantially different from the system in place in the United States. Unlike the American system that favors the entity that used the trademark first, the Chinese trademark system prioritizes applicants on the basis of their filing date. What this essentially means is that a company that has been using a filed trademark for 2 years will be the rightful owner of the mark than one who has been using the same trademark unfiled, for a longer duration.

Brand Names Need to Be Localized

To suit the local culture and language, each brand stepping into the Chinese market is required to localize its name. Let’s consider the example of U.S. based pharmaceutical giant, Pfizer. When Pfizer made attempts to launch Viagra in China, it had to face an extensive legal battle over the Chinese name of the drug, which was claimed by a local company. Pfizer eventually lost the case, as it failed to register a Chinese name for Viagra soon enough.

Poor Understanding of Local Policies

In some cases, it’s the poor understanding of trademark policies which leads to costly lawsuits and hefty fines.  In order to prevent unintentional trademark infringement, companies taking their operations to China or any other foreign country need to develop a sound understanding of local
trademark policies.

Trademark registration in China isn’t as complicated as it may appear to be. However, if you need a little help in getting started, get in touch with Business China!

We help foreign investors launch start-ups or expand their businesses to China by providing prompt company registration, management and accounting services. Simply convey the needs of your incorporation to us via email at and our team will help you propel your business in China to success!

Got questions? Call our representatives at +86-020-2917 9715 to learn more.

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