Want to start doing business in China, or already operating here? Want to sell products or services in China, or manufacture them here for export?
Well then 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 huge 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!
But just because registering our trademarks in China is crucial doesn't make it easy for foreign companies. In fact, it's one ofthe more difficult processes that foreign companies who're new to China can undertake due to the complexity, timescale, and procedures involved in registering trademarks in China.
Is China Trademark Registration Actually That Important?
You already know that in China it's possible for others to own your own trademarks, even if you use them in your home country.
Why is this a serious problem?
If someone registers your trademark before you, you:
- Will not be able to use it in China. This potentially prevents you from trading your products or services in China using your 'brand.' If you do then you open yourself up to a lawsuit by the owner in which they will likely win damages.
- 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.
- 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 will agree to this.
- May need to fight them in court in China which will take years, cost a fortune, and has no guarantee of success. It's possible you could prevail, but can you afford the time, costs, and all the while not being able to do business in China which is totally against what you set out to do in the first place?
Don't Risk Your Company's Future. Be Prepared To Register Trademarks In China And Get Ahead Of The Others.
Any of the above scenarios sound appealing? Trademark issues have affected companies like Apple and Jordan sportswear who have both fought high profile court cases (and lost), so they could certainly affect yours!
The problem is that registering trademarks in China isn't easy to do.
That's why we created the China trademark registration procedure checklist for you to use to get started protecting your trademarks. This checklist will make it 100% clearer on which documents you'll need to gather and provide in order to have a speedy and successful trademark registration, and to understand what happens when.
Are you planning on registering your trademarks now? Have you already encountered tardemark issues in China?
Let us know your thoughts and questions in the comments section below please.