Trademark opposition means you can apply to CNIPA to cancel one trademark which is conflict with your own mark. You have rights to ask the CNIPA to refuse the trademark registering on the base of enough evidence.
Who can file an opposition
In China, only a prior right-owner or her agent can file opposition based on prior rights.
A Chinese opponent can file the opposition personally or through a trademark agent recorded with the CNIPA. A foreign opponent must file opposition through a trademark agent in China.
The official fee for filing an opposition is CNY600 (USD100). The attorney fee is usually charged depending on the complexity of the case, working hours required, etc.
What situation you can file an opposition
The opposition can be filed based on grounds, such as lack of distinctiveness, being misleading as to the characteristics of the goods/services, having bad social influence, bad faith registration, etc. The opposition can also be filed based on prior rights such as prior trade-mark right, well-known trade mark, prior-use right, etc.
When you can file an opposition
An opposition can be filed within three months after the publication of a trade mark. For international trade marks entering into China, the deadline for filing the opposition is the last day of the third month since its publication by WIPO. Supplementary evidence can be filed within three months from the filing of opposition.
What steps will happen in opposition
You or your agent file an opposition
After your opposition is filed, the CNIPA will forward the opposition evidence to the opposed party and request the opposed party to reply within 30 days from receipt of the notification.
The opposed party has an additional three-month period to provide the evidence. The CNIPA will not forward the evidence filed by the opposed party to the opponent (You) for arguments. Instead, the CNIPA will make a decision on opposition directly.
CNIPA give you final decision
If the opposition decision is made in favour of the opponent (you) and the opposed mark is refused, the opposed party has the right to file a review with the TRAB within 15 days from receipt of the decision. You will have to wait more days for final decision.
If the decision is not made in favour of the opponent (you), and the opposed mark is approved for registration, then the mark is registered. The opponent, instead of filing a review on opposition, has nothing need to do next.
Opposition case we meet
Recently, we had a client from Italy ask us regarding the trademark opposition procedure in China. In his case, he also registered trademark in Italy but not registered in China. He also sell his products in China market already.
After we search on CNIPA database, one guy applied similar trademark and it is in publication process, it is within the opposition period time. So we take action to help him file an opposition.
There is one important reason we need choose is the product has been sold in China by one agent (eventhough he do not have agent, but we can help him to find one seller to show evidence), because he sold his products online and ship to China for many years already.
With our opposition action, the opposed party now is waiting for CNIPA deep investigation, the applid trademark now is still pending.
We are sure that the mark will be refused finally, and our customer will apply the trademark again later. In this case, we remind all of you that if you find your mark or similar mark is applied by other guys, please do not wait till you miss the best time for opposing it.