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Chinese authorities do not check whether a trademark registration applicant actually provides the goods or services of the class he/she is applying for. As long as there are no previous similar applications, the authorities can approve the accept the application.

Therefore, an entity can register your trademark to provide goods and services similar to yours, and pretend to be you.

Another risk is that an entity registers your trademark with the sole purpose of selling it back to you. In such case either you give-in, or you might need to re-brand, because in China it is very hard to apply for the ‘well-known’ trademark status in trademark infringement cases.

How to register?

You can register the trademark in 3 ways:
a)You can apply in China using a local WFOE.
b)You can apply in China using a foreign entity for the application.
c)If you already registered your trademark in other Countries under the Madrid Protocol, you
can apply to extend that registration to China as well.

For case a) and b) we can do it for you.

For case c) you do not need our help and you can register through your international agent/lawyer. However, for case c) you should note that you will not be issued a Chinese paper to prove the ownership of the trademark; you will have to request one on purpose if a dispute arises, which will require 3 months. Also, for case c) most likely your trademark only covers your “English” name; you might still want to start a separate application for your Chinese name/brand.

How many name(s) and logo(s) should I register?

Each application should always include both a name and a logo. So if you need to register one name and one logo, one application is enough, if you want to register more than one name or logo, additional applications should be processed.

If your trading name is different from your company name, you should give priority to registering the trading name.

How long does it take?

Preparing the application and the relative documents usually requires a week. After 4 months circa from the application, you will receive a document stating that your application has been accepted. At that point other entities will not be able to submit an identical trademark application, so you get an initial layer of protection.

After 9 months from the application we will get some feedback from the authorities that will let us understand whether the procedure is going in the right direction. In fact if the registration is going to be rejected, this might happen at this stage.

After 18-20 months from the original application, if there are not problems, you will obtain the final approval. Please note that you will not be able to defend your trademark in court until the procedure is completed.

Which documents should be provided for the application?

This will depend on the type of application you want to do, i.e. whether you are going to use your foreign company or a local entity (WFOE). We will advise you accordingly. Usually no legalized documents are required, so it is relatively quickly to source what is needed.

Is my company name still available in China for the Class I would like to register my trademark in?

Just let us know which names and classes (goods or services) are of your interest, and we will run a search for you. Within reason, we will be happy to do that free of charge.

How much does it cost to register a trademark?

China uses the “Nice” Classification. There are 45 classes of goods and services, and each class contains several categories.

Our fee for one trademark application, for one class, is 1000 USD. It includes up to 10 categories of the same class. Any additional category in the same class will be charged 20 USD.

Any application for any additional trademark or class will be counted as a separate application.

The government fees are included in our fees, and the translation of your documents to Chinese is included too (within reason).

I just found out that someone else already started, or completed, a trademark application for my name in the class of my interest. Can I block them?

Unfortunately this will be very hard; even if you were using your name first, either in China or abroad, this is usually not enough to win the case. Please note that we can process trademark applications for you, but we do not provide legal advice; if you need to protect your rights in court you should speak to a Chinese law firm expert in Intellectual Property.

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