If you are operating in China, you need to protect your unique brand, product and company through trademark registration.
While you may already have many trademarks for which you own the rights abroad, essentially all bets are off upon entering the China market. If a trademark hasn't been registered here, then according to Chinese law, it could be registered by someone else, blocking you from using your trademark.
If you're in the position where you need to start protecting your trademarks, where do you start? This blog will take you through what you need to know as a foreigner registering trademarks in China.
Is It Necessary For You To Register & Protect Your Trademark in China?
It doesn't matter whether you're running a WFOE to import overseas products for sale or if you're part of a joint venture in China, manufacturing your brand solely for export. If your trademark isn't registered in China, it is possibly at risk as there is little common law protection for unregistered trademarks. Worst case scenario, you would be taken to court by the holder of the rights for using your trademark.
Trademark Registration Process in China
China has come a long way concerning intellectual property. Protecting your IP as a foreigner is now more accessible than ever. However, there are some things you need to know about this process, such as:
- You need a basic knowledge of Mandarin
- You will have to gather and compile numerous documents
- Filling out the correct application forms in Chinese
- Filing them at the correct government offices and at the right times
- Can take around as long as 2 years for companies to manage it themselves
Conduct a Trademark Search in China
Undertake a trademark search in China to make sure your trademark isn't already registered or that there are those which are similar enough to cause you trouble.
Submit Registration Documents to Trademark Office China
The documents you need to submit are:
- Company incorporation certificate and details
- Paper and digital versions of your trademark/s to be registered
- Details explaining the trademark and its category
- Completed China trademark registration form (or trademark registration power of attorney form for China if you're leaving it to someone else)
For a more in-depth guide on how to register your trademark in China, click here.
Should You Register a Trademark in China by Yourself?
Registering a trademark in China as a foreigner can be a daunting task. It’s advised to make use of an expert business consultant in China that specialises in foreign business to do the process for you.
Working with a China business consultancy service like Hongda can offer you the following benefits:
- No mistakes are made in the process due to the experts' knowledge of undertaking it
- It will often be faster than the 2 years needed for many companies to do it themselves
- You have an expert to guide you through what's needed, meaning that guesswork and worry disappears
- You have more time to get on with running your company instead of worrying about trademarks