Want to start doing business in China or already operating here? Do you want to sell products or services in China or manufacture them here for export?
If you answered yes to any of the above, you need to protect your IP with trademark registration. Without doing so, you really can't, or shouldn't, be doing any business in China without considerable risk to your company.
Our trademarks, regardless of if they're registered and owned abroad, are not secure in China, as its first-to-file trademark registration system means that other individuals and companies may potentially register your trademarks and bar you from using them.
Is China Trademark Registration Actually That Important?
You already know that others can own your trademarks in China, even if you use them in your home country.
If someone registers your trademark before you:
- You will not be able to use it in China, which potentially prevents you from trading your products or services in China using your 'brand.' If you do, you open yourself up to a lawsuit by the owner in which they will likely win damages.
- You will not be able to manufacture your products in China for export. Even if your products never hit the China market, the holder of the rights can have them impounded in port and confiscated by the authorities for IP rights abuse.
- You may have to pay them a fee for rights to continued usage of 'their' IP. Perhaps the only way for you to keep using your trademarks is to pay the local owner a fee if they agree to this.
- You may need to fight them in court in China, which will take years, cost a fortune, and has no guarantee of success. You could prevail, but can you afford the time, costs, and all the while not being able to do business in China?
How Hard Is It to Get a Trademark in China?
Unfortunately, registering a trademark in China can be a daunting task.
That's why we created the China trademark registration procedure checklist for you to get started. This checklist will make it 100% clearer on which documents you'll need to gather and provide to have a speedy and successful trademark registration and understand what happens when.
Are you planning on registering your trademarks now? Have you already encountered trademark issues in China?
Let us know your thoughts and questions in the comments section below.