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Procedure and tips of registrating a trademark in China

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Generally we have two methods, if the applicant, for both a company and an individual, is applicant who has China nationality. First is appointing a China local trademark agency authorized by the State Administration of Industry and Commerce of China to deal with the application, including jobs of preparing files and delivering of files, second is dealing with the application by the company or the individual itself. Of course, for both methods, the owner of the trademark is the applicant which will not be affected.


If the applicant is a foreign company or individual who has the nationality of a member national of Paris Convention but who does not have any commercial domicile or regularity residency in China, then he must appoint one China local trademark agency authorized by the State Administration of Industry and Commerce of China to deal with the application for the applicant. If the foreign applicant has at least one commercial domicile or regularity residency in China, then the applicant can apply for the trademark directly with no need to appoint one agency.

If the applicant will file its trademarks by itself directly, he needs to go to Beijing to deliver his documents of registration directly. Yes, the applicant must go to or entrust one attorney to go to Trademark Registering Hall which is located in Beijing to deliver the documents face to face, but can not deliver the documents via mail.

If the applicant will appoint one trademark agency, then it will be much easier, just gives the trademark to the agency and tell him in which categories the trademark will be registered, and also signed the appointment document, then the agency will do the rest jobs.

1 Find a trademark attorney to assist you with registering your trademark. This is important for researching already-registered trademarks. An attorney should help to conduct an official search of existing trademarks and their status, both by using the official database and by filing with the CTMO. Your trademark must be a "visible mark;" trademarks for sounds or smells are not granted in China. An attorney is also important because your application must include a Chinese translation. The Chinese translation of the applicant's name and address is a requisite for applications.

2 Identify the laws which regulate trademark registration between your country and China. Under Chinese law, your trademark is subject to any laws, regulations, or treaties between your country and China and any international laws to which both countries are party.

3 Determine the classification of commodities under which you will register your trademark and the scope of your trademark claims. This information must be declared in your application.

4 Ensure that your trademark adheres to Chinese laws and restrictions. For example, the image may not include insignia of any country, and may not involve only generic names. Conduct a search to endure that your trademark is not to similar to any already registered.

5 If your trademark has been registered first in another country, you are eligible for a right of priority in China (6 months from the day filed in a foreign country). You must claim this right with a written request on the Application Form. Additionally, the Certified Copy of the original trademark application issued by your local registry should be filed with the CTMO along with the Application Form. Nevertheless, if you could not file such certified document with the initial filing, you could submit it within 3 months from the filing date.

6 Apply for registration with the China trademark Office (CTMO). The application shall undergo a preliminary examination (to determine document authenticity), followed by a substantive examination. If it passes these examinations, the Trademark Office will publish the application, which, if not opposed, will be registered after three months.

Application for Trademark Registration in China

Applications for trademark registration are handled in accordance with China's Trademark Law and the Implementing Regulations of the Trademark Law.

The Trademark Office under the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) is the government authority for the registration of trademarks in China. The Trademark Management Office under SAIC is the administrative arm responsible for managing all trademark-related matters, while Trademark Affairs Offices set up in various major cities are trademark agents designated by the state and under the supervision of SAIC. The Trademark Review and Adjudication Board, also under SAIC, is responsible for handling disputes related to trademarks. Provincial-level administration offices for industry and commerce handle matters concerning trademarks under their jurisdiction, such as protecting the exclusive right to use registered trademarks and investigating acts of trademark infringement.

Any foreigner or foreign enterprise intending to apply for trademark registration in China should file an application in accordance with relevant agreements concluded between the country to which the applicant belongs and China, or according to relevant international treaties to which both countries are parties, or on the basis of the principle of reciprocity.

Foreign-invested enterprises (FIEs) may apply for trademark registration in China either directly or through trademark agents. Foreign enterprises wishing to do the same should appoint agents designated by the state to handle trademark registration for foreign parties.


Points to Note in Application for Trademark Registration

In applying for trademark registration, the class and description of the goods should be put in the application form according to the prescribed classification system. Currently, China adopts the International Classification System, which classifies goods and services into 34 categories and eight categories respectively.

Where an applicant intends to register the same trademark for goods in different classes, a separate application for registration should be filed in respect of each class of the prescribed classification of goods.

Where a registered trademark is to be used in respect of other goods of the same class, a new application for registration should be filed.

Where any design of a registered trademark is to be altered, a new registration should be applied for.

Where, after the registration of a trademark, the name, address or other matters concerning the registrant change, an application regarding the change should be filed.

A geographical indication may be the subject of an application for registration as a certification mark and a collective mark.

Procedures for Trademark Registration and Documents Required

In applying for trademark registration, the following documents should be submitted to the relevant authorities: Application for Trademark Registration, power of attorney, five copies of the reproductions of the trademark (if colour is claimed, five copies of the colour reproductions of the trademark), and one copy of the black and white design thereof. The reproductions of the trademark must be clear and easy to be pasted up and should be printed on smooth and clear durable paper or substituted by photographs, the length and width of which should be less than 10 cm but more than 5 cm each.

When a foreigner or foreign enterprise applies for trademark registration, the Chinese language should be used (any document in a foreign language should be accompanied by a Chinese translation).

Where trademark registration is applied for a three-dimensional mark, the applicant should state the same in the application and submit reproductions enabling determination of the three-dimensional shape.

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I am a licensed China lawyer. Most clients are foreign nationals and companies. China Lawyer Blog have associates in Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Guangzhou, Suzhou, Nanjing, Qingdao, Fuzhou, Hainan, Hefei, Wuhan, Xian, Changsha, Xiamen and Hangzhou. Learn More

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