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A Simplified Way Of Registering Trademark In China
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A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others. The purpose behind trademarks is to allow companies and individuals to indicate the source of their goods or services and to distinguish them from others in the industry. Trademarks such as McDonalds, Adidas, Apple, Nike and CocaCola serve as an indication of origin of the goods as well as an indication of quality.
Trademarks are territorial rights, their registration and enforcement are governed by national laws, and the rights conveyed can vary country-by-country. Trademarks are valuable business assets while doing business in China. A valid trademark right will enable its owner to prevent others from copying or otherwise taking advantage of the goodwill in the owner’s brand or company name.
Trademarks in China can include any:
-Combination of Colors or a Combination Thereof
Difference between Trademark and Copyright/Patent-
Unlike patents and copyrights, trademarks do not expire after a set term of years. Trademark rights come from actual “use”. Therefore, a trademark can last forever - so long as you continue to use the mark in commerce to indicate the source of goods and services. A trademark registration can also last forever - so long as you file specific documents and pay fees at regular intervals. Properly used and promoted, a Trademark may become the most valuable asset of a business.
Trademark registration process in China-
Unlike registering a trademark in the United States, registering a trademark in China holds some interesting distinctions. One of which is that China is a First to File country, while the U.S. is a First in Time, First in Right country. The simple explanation is that where two or more applicants apply for the registration of identical or similar trademarks for the same or similar goods, the Trademark Office will approve the trademark application which is first filed. Where applications are filed on the same day, the preliminary approval shall be given to the trademark which was the earliest used, and the applications of the others shall be rejected and their trademarks shall not be published.
Before applying for the registration of a mark, the applicant should conduct a preliminary search at the China Trademark Office to determine if a similar mark is already registered. The trademark you wish to register must be “available”. This means it must not be in conflict with a “prior right”. Prior rights are trademarks already registered or filed at the China Trademark Office (CTMO) for the same or similar class of goods or services.
There are altogether 42 classes of trademarks in China. You have to submit your application for at least one of the classes for trademark registration in China. If you are entitled to claim priority registration, you have to submit your letter of priority, with the proper translation, together with the application. These documents have to be certified by the relevant organizations.
If everything goes right, the entire trademark registration in China will take up around eighteen to twenty months. Within three or four months after receiving the completed trademark application materials, the Trademark Office will send you an Official Receiving Notice. With that, the examination period begins and lasts around 9 months. After the examination period, anyone who wants to has three months to file an opposition. If there’s no opposition, then you will be issued your Trademark certificate of registration and you’re done.
Although the process is time-taking, once you obtain a trademark in China, you could be sure of giving your business a mileage that will take you beyond the reach of your competitors.
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