Trademark in China: Protect your brand right now

Trademark meaning

How to do China trademark registration? It is easy and not easy. A trademark is a sign that serves the specific and primary purpose of identifying the goods or services of a producer, which allowing the consumers to distinguish goods or services of one producer from those of another.

Everyone knows that the globalization is strongly connected each other in different areas, for communication, travelling worldwide, business developing. We expose ourselves in short time by internet, same as our products or services do. Protecting your own mark or brand image is seriously important, not only in your local market, but also worldwide. China takes very important role in worldwide economy with its hugh marketplace. This is why you need register trademark in China right now.

China is a first-to-file country. It means that the person who register the trademark first, who will get all the rights to distribute and sell products to China.

China trademark certificate

Have a nice Chinese trademark name

You can choose words, (English letters or Chinese characters) words and drawing, or only drawings for your trademark name. How to make your local mark connected with Chinese trademark when people remind it in mind? Actually it is very important for business developing, especially at the beginning.

Phonetic translation is a good way for you to make the Chinese name sound similar to the English name.

For example, Boeing is translated as Bo Yin, it sounds similar to the English name and very easy to remember in public. Another good way is literal translation. Take facebook for example. It was translated into Lian Shu in China. It does not mean anything for the company, nor shows that facebook is one internet company. But it is nice name for the company, short and easy to be remembered in your heart.

Trademark registration steps in China

When you have found a trademark name and decided to apply trademark in China, there are always two ways you can choose. Below is the first way you need follow step by step. It is also called local file trademark application in China.

Step 1: China trademark search

You can search for registered trademarks on CNIPA’s (Trademark Office of National Intellectual Property Administration) official website. It is legal with updated informative trademark database. You can get exact search results here. If you are not familiar with it, we can help you do trademark search, addtional fees will occur.

  1. Searching for similar trademark as you plan to register
  2. Get detailed information about different trademark
  3. Know the status of different application, even it is not your own

If you do search by yourself, you need understand some Chinese or do search with some translation tools. Below we show you detailed steps. We aslo have one vedio about how to search China trademark.

When you visit google and type China trademark search, usually there are many of sites with china trademark search box like below.

google results

But these sites are not official site and the database is not correct which will mislead your search. What you need to do is find the official China trademark office website for your searching.

China trademark offical office

Please click here for official trademark searching website. I have also switched to English version (You need open it with IE explore or Firefox explore). Now you can begin your searching online in English. It is also free china trademark search tool.

offical search site

As you can see above picture, you just click SISTM (search for identical or similar TMs). The screen will turn to below.

search with trademark classes

International Classification means what Niche class you plan to reigster your trademark, it is one must input information.

Search mode means you can search your trademark in different ways.

  • Chinese character: If your mark is in Chinese language, you can choose this way;
  • Chinese pinyin: If your mark is in Pinyin, Such as Xiaomi, Huawei, you just click this way;
  • English: Most of overseas company reigster their trademark in English, so you must search your mark in this format if plan to register English name;
  • Numeral: If your mark consists of numbers, you need choose this way to search similar mark or phrases;
  • Acronym: If your mark is in shortage of some words or phrase, you need choose this way;
  • Graph: If your mark is designed originate from one kind of product or animal in the world, you need use this way to compare the similar graph.

Trademark content means your mark name, usually it is in words or phrases. Now we take one example to show you how to use this tool.

Just take Apple for example. Input apple in Niche class 9. We can see below.

apple trademark
apple mark results

There are totally 1545 results you can see. It is just sreenshot the first page. Most of them are registered by Apple company (China and USA), but the lines in red color are not registered by Apple. I am sure they are objected by the trademark office (CNIPA), let’s just click number 5 line.

apple status

You can see the application number, date of application and name of application and international classification. When you click the trademark procedure, you can see below information as screenshot. It means that it is one objected registration. And it is the finally decision.

finial results

This is the automatic searching we shared with you, we also need do selective searching as screenshot below.

select search

There is one additional search type with more database for your choosing. If you select different types, the search result will be not same.

We usually do search with combined ways mentioned above for detailed information. This is why we sugget you use official trademark search website for deep searching. Here I will not take example for this type of searching.

After your deep searching following above steps, if you find your mark is available to register, you can go on next steps to continue.

Step 2: Submit application to China trademark office

After we have studied with your case, we will prepare documents and submit for application. You need give detailed information about your company or your personal information. In China, CNIPA (China National Intellectual Property Administration) is responsible to handle the applications of trademarks.
1. CNIPA reviews the application and confirms whether you can proceed or if complementaries are needed.
2. CNIPA starts a thorough process to register the trademark (normally takes 6 months)
3. Approves and issues the trademark (takes generally 2 months when the above process has finished)
4. You receive a certificate of approval (normally takes 2 additional months)

Step 3: Finish the whole registration process

In this step, you will get one trademark certificate with detailed information, such as the trademark name, trademark owner, trademark registration number, classes, registration date and so on.

Marid agreement or protocol trademark registration

The second way to register trademark in China is that you have registered trademark in your local country. You can extend your domestic trademark in China.

This possibility is only available to applicant who come from countries which is a party to the Madrid Agreement or the Madrid Protocol, the two main international treaties concerning the international registration of trademarks. They are similar but not same. The main difference is that in the Protocol, it is possible to apply for the extension of the trademark to other countries, even before it is registered in the country of origin, when it is still at the stage of application. China is a member of both organization.

The application for extension to China is made to the office of WIPO in Europe and USPTO in USA. For the nationals of a member State of the Madrid Agreement, the application must be based on a registered trademark. For the nationals of a member State of the Madrid Protocol, a simple trademark application, even it is not registered is accepted.

Upon receipt of the application, WIPO enters a record in the International Register and publishes the application in the International Trademark Gazette and notifies the Trademark Authorities of the country(ies) concerned by the extension. A period of three months for oppositions by third parties starts on the 1st day of the next month following the publication in the Gazette.

If no objection is made by the Trademark Authority of the countries concerned, within a period of one year (Madrid Agreement) to 18 months (Madrid Protocol) from the date on which the trademark was recorded in the International Register, the trademark is considered registered, from the date of the certificate issued by WIPO or USPTO.

How long it take to register a trademark in China

Generally speaking, it will take 10 months to finish the total process due to the CNIPA has worked hard to short time for all application from 2018.

FAQ

If foreign company or foreigner can register a trademark in China?

YES.

In fact, if you’re a non-resident in China, or have a foreign company, you need to seek help from a trademark agency.
The application is filed through China’s national registration system, also called Trademark Office of CNIPA.

Can I use a foreign agent to register my trademark in China?

No. If you are foreigner or you have company in China, you need find one Chinese agent to handle your registration, but you can contact with your local agent which have partnership with their own China agent. They will give you solution with the help of the agent in China. This usually cost you much more money.

How many trademark classes in China?

There are 45 classes in China. Same as other countires in the world, trademark registration follow the Niche classes in China. You just choose same classes as you need in your local places.

China trademark classes download
How many years will be valid once my trademark has been registered in China?

The registered mark will be valid for 10 years. You need renew the mark after  10 years upon the date of registration.

Can I register my local name with Chinese name together?

Yes, you can apply the combined registration with your local name and Chinese name one time, but you have to use them together on your product, package printing. If you need use them seperately, you need register your local name and Chinese name in seperate, which means there will be two application. Most of customers prefer register in seperate.

Can I finish trademark reistration online free by myself?

Definitely yes. If you understand Chinese, you can go to offical website and file the application yourself, but you need also submit your personal information on the site.

What is the TM and R symbol mean? or what is the difference?

If a trademark is registered with the United States Trademark Office, then you can use the ® symbol. If the mark is not registered, then you should use the TM or SM symbols. The TM symbol can be used for any mark whether in use on goods and/or services. Same princeple is in China.

What can be registered as your trademark?

The following marks or signs are acceptable for registration in China.

  • Words
  • Names
  • Certain 3-dimensional shapes
  • Slogans or phrase
  • Colors
  • Sounds
  • Combination of all of the above elements
  • Collective marks
  • Service marks
  • Certification marks
  • Well-known marks
How important to apply a trademark by one experienced attorney in China?
When you search China trademark office online, there are many many sites displaying on your screen. One professional attorney, with China trademark database, can help you save time and money in application process. It is guarantee that you can run business as well as establish your brand with the mark.
What is the difference between a trademark, copyright, and patent?

A trademark protects words that describe the unique source of a product or service. A copyright protects original music, art, and writing. Patents protect inventions and improvements to existing inventions.

What is the timeline and when you need to do trademark renewal in China?

In China, you need do trademark renewal in 10 years upon the registered date of your first registration.


Advantages of registering trademark in China

This question is often asked by our customers to confirm if it is worth to spend money to apply for trademark. I would like to share the advantages of haveing one trademark.

  • You can sell it
  • You can transfer it
  • You can use it for your purpose in business
  • You can avoid others to register your original brand in China

China trademark filing requriements

  • Trademark words, sign or phrase
  • The applicant name, address or company name and address
  • Contact information such as email or phone number

China trademark registration cost

    services fees  (USD) government fees (USD) total (USD)
1 trademark checkup fees Chinese or English words 100   100
2 Trademark registration fee (one Niche class with 10 sub classes) 200 50 250
3 reply to trademark objection 100/reply    
4 overcome to the objection 300/reply    
Part 1 and 2 are must pay cost, if your mark do not meet objection, part 3 and 4 will not occur.