Before filing one, do know that China’s trademark laws are different from those in India, so it’s important to read everything before registering a trademark in China
As India spreads its wings in the global world, businesses also get an opportunity to enter new markets. As one of the world’s largest exporters and consuming markets, China remains the top business spot. In this post, we discuss how to file a trademark in China.
What Is the Trademark Law in China?
*China only acknowledges trademarks registered within its jurisdiction, this is a key legal step for Indian companies looking to engage with the Chinese market. *China gives priority protection to applicants who have filed their trademark first. Thus, to ease your business entry to China, filing the trademark application at the earliest, even before you enter the Chinese market is advisable. *China also allows for three-dimensional trademarks and colours to get registration as trademarks. *Collective and certification trademarks can also have registration in China and can also now be recognised under Chinese law.
The Validity of Trademarks in China The general validity for trademarks issued is for ten years, with a clause of subsequent renewals for another period of ten years (indefinitely).
Why should you register your business trademark in China? The primary reason for applying for trademark registration in China is to protect your business brand, reputation, and image abroad. For established brands, the threat of someone else registering the trademark and preventing access from entering the Chinese market is a significant risk.
Who Administers Trademark Law in China? The system of trademark law in the mainland Chinese territory that admitted by the China National Intellectual Property Administration. It also has a provision for appeal, administered by Trademark Review and Adjudication Board and the courts).
Where Should You Apply for Registration? *Trademarks in China are registered via the Trademark Office, China National Intellectual Property Administration (CTMO). *Any company applying for a trademark may apply directly to the CTMO or apply through WIPO ( World Intellectual Property Organization). *In case you do not have a residency or place of business in China, It is advisable to apply to the CTMO through a registered agent. *The company has to file one application per class of goods or services and submit a precise list of the goods or services for which the protection needs.
Choosing a Chinese name or a Translation There are some specific strategies that most companies use while filing a trademark name for their business in China. Foreign applicants must be careful to give a Chinese version or a direct translation, to avoid any miscommunication. This also helps applicants in protecting their business from accidental infringement.
a) Literal translation: Eg Apple Computers registration with the name “PING GUO” which is Chinese for an apple.
b) Phonetic translation: Audi registered a similar sounding name “AO DI”.
c) Combination of literal and phonetic Translation: Coca Cola goes by the name “ke kou ke le” which sounds like the actual brand name but means ‘taste and be happy.
Documents Required for Trademark Registration in China The following documents need to be produced:
Five copies, printed on smooth and clear paper, or replaced by photographs not larger than 10×5 cm;
If the colour that claims, five copies in colour and one copy of the black and white design;
For a three-dimensional or a colour-combination trademark, a specific statement indicating that the shape or the colour combination that claims as a trademark, together with a literal description;
If the trademark is in a foreign language or contains a foreign language, a translation must be provided.
If the trademark recently registered in another country (less than 6 months) or that displays in an exhibition in China during the past 6 months, it is possible to date back the application to the time of the prior registration or exhibition, by providing the corresponding evidence.
What Is the Time Taken to Register a Trademark in China? According to a new policy, in 2019, the time taken for registration in China is cut short to an average of 15 months to a year and a half. However, this does not include the time an applicant takes to gather preliminary information. And, the collection and preparation of required filing documents. Additional delays should always factor in the calculation of the time.
Timelines You Can Expect for Your Trademark Registration in China Formal Examination: The new policy envisages a reduction in time and now needs only 30 days, which earlier was about two months.
Substantive examination – This process of examination is likely to take six months. Here the registration process either gets to the next stage or the authority sends a notice of rejection.
Trademark assignmentexamination: The time taken here is to assign fresh trademarks for businesses to operate in China. The assignment examination time has a reduction to two months from four. Trademark announcement: Publication in the official trademark gazette. The publication date marks the start of a three month period during which third parties may file an opposition with the CTMO. If no opposition is filed (or if an opposition is filed but fails), the trademark is registered and the period of validity of the trademark (10 years) starts at the end of the 3 months opposition period.
Trademark amendment and renewal: Much like Indian laws, the Chinese law also provides for amending the trademark. This process usually takes about two months.
What Are the Fees Charged for Trademark Registration in China? The CTMO charges an official fee of RMB 800 (Chinese Yuan) per application covering 10 goods/services. If the number of goods/services exceeds 10 in one application, an additional fee of RMB 100 will be charged for each of them.