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The importance of registering your trademark in China

  1. Trademerk registration makes it easier to protect a mark against would-be copiers in China market.A trademark is either a word, phrase, symbol or design, or plural combination, which identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods or services of one party from those of others.
  2. A service mark is the same as a trademark except that it identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than a product.
  3. Some well know trademarks are; Got Milk?, Channel No.5, Popsicle, Calvin Klein, the Pillsbury Doughboy figure, the shape of a Coke bottle, the sound of the NBC chimes and the graphical image of the NBC peacock.
  4. The tm symbol represents an unregistered trademark. The sm symbol represents an unregistered service mark. Both are informal notification that there is a public claim as a trademark or service mark.
  5. The registration symbol ® tells the public that the mark is federally trademark registered and protected. Using the ® without being federally trademark registered would be fraud.
  6. To register a trademark you must already be using it in recognized commerce or intend to. Trademarks can give you either local, state, nationwide or international rights and protection.
  7. Your trademark cannot be the same as or similar to an existing mark used on similar or related goods or services. Your trademark cannot be generic or lack distinctiveness.
  8. An applicant is not required to conduct a search for conflicting marks prior to applying, the USPTO will do one. If they find a same or similar trademark, your application will be dismissed without a refund. It may benefit an applicant to do their own search.
  9. You register your trademark by submitting an application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Merely submitting an application does not guarantee trademark registration.
  10. Your application will consist of a hard copy or electronically filled-in form using TEAS, the appropriate fee, a drawing of the mark to be registered and specimens of use of the mark.
  11. The minimum cost for applying for trademark registration is $275 for a single class. Average costs are between $1000 to $2000 with a lawyer.
  12. You should start using the tm or sm symbol right away with your trademark, even before you apply for federal trademark registration.
  13. Seek the advice of an attorney for any questions you may have before submitting your trademark application, due to possible complications that could arise if you do it yourself without the proper knowledge or experience.
Tips:
  1. A trademark is different from a copyright or a patent. A copyright protects an original artistic or literary work; a patent protects an invention.
  2. Off limits for trademarks are the names/likeness of living persons or dead presidents without consent, the US flag, federal/local insignias and marks that would cause slander or be immoral.
  3. You should try doing a preliminary online trademark search yourself. Educate yourself in trademark registration even if you use a lawyer.
What You Need:
  • A Trademark
  • A Business
  • Possibly A Lawyer
  • Money For Filing Costs

Among the benefits of going through the process of registering a trademark or service mark are:

  • The registration symbol serves as constructive notice of your claim to its ownership. This principle makes it easier to defend your claim in a lawsuit.

  • The symbol provides clear evidence that the word or phrase is not in the public domain but is owned and must be acknowledged.

  • You may more easily get a case against a violator into the federal court if your trademark/service mark is registered.
  • Registration may provide a basis for obtaining registration in other countries.

  • Registration may be filed with U.S. Customs Service to prevent importation of infringing foreign goods.
 
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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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China Lawyer BLog AuthorPeter Zhu, an experienced China attorney licensed to practice law for more than ten years, the author of this China Lawyer blog, welcomes any enquiry or consultation related to Chinese law.