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The China Trademark Process Explained

by Bobby Lee | 18 January 2022

Whether you intend to do business in China today or at any point in the future, registering your trademark in China as soon as possible is a smart move. We’ve outlined the entire process here for you to make it easier.

Trademarks are an efficient commercial communication tool to capture customer attention and make your business, products and services stand out. Protecting your trademark in China requires first and foremost that you register your trademark in China.

Even if you’re only planning to manufacture in China, it would still be recommended as, under current Chinese Law, a company can “jump in” and register your trademark, even if you were the first to use it. Once this happens, that entity can legally prohibit your product from leaving the country by claiming Trademark infringement, which leads us to our first point.

Registering a Trademark in China

Registered trademarks can prevent competitors or partners in China from using their registered trademarks without permission. Your registered trademark can also successfully prevent others from acquiring trademark rights for your trademark.

Trademark infringement actions can be costly, and very few companies have the financial strength or time to overcome the total or partial loss of their right to use their own business or product name. Trademarks, in short, are critical business assets. To ensure that you protect your intellectual property, you should start the trademark registration process with a trademark clearance search in China.

Conduct A Pre-Filing Trademark Search in China

Trademark Search in China

Before filing your trademark, it's highly recommended that you do a China Trademark Pre-filing search. The search is performed through the China Trademark Registration Office (China Intellectual Property Department), with results returned as fast as one day. Companies such as Hongda will do this search for you free of charge.

Trademarks in China can include any of the following:

  • Words
  • Designs
  • Letters
  • Numerals
  • 3D Symbol
  • Combination of colors or a combination thereof

NOTE: Avoid names of Cities or Chinese Dignitaries (past or present)

China Trademark Register Process

Trademarks in China are awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis, regardless of whether or not a company might be able to prove ownership over that China trademark. If it has been registered in China by another entity before your registration efforts, it will most likely be rejected outright. If a registration happens on the same day, only the first application will be considered. 

  • Perform a check to see if the Trademark is available by conducting a pre-filing China trademark search
  • Confirmation of availability
  • Prepare relevant papers and documentation required.
  • Submission of trademark registration application forms
  • Official examination of register
  • Publication in Government Gazette (if Trademark is Accepted)
  • Issuance of Certification of Registration (if no objections were received)

How Long Does it Take to Register a Trademark in China?

The entire China trademark process can take quite a long time to complete, with an average of 20-24 months. However, companies such as Hongda Business Services can achieve this in approximately 18 months. Irrespective of where you go to register your trademark in China, it’s essential to start the process as soon as possible.

Do you have any experience with Trademarks in China that you can share? Any questions that you need the answers to?

Please use the comment section below to get a discussion going or any questions answered by Hongda experts.

CTA of China Trademark Registration Checklist

Topics: China Trademarks

Bobby Lee

Bobby Lee

Helping make China companies easy since 2007 as a Senior Consultant



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