How to Trademark Your Product in China
Here are ten steps that will explain how to trademark your product in China, so take a look for the step-by-step explanation of the registration process below.
1. Choose a trademark agent
Unless your company has had a business presence in China, you will need to hire a state-designated trademark agent. These agents will assist throughout the entire registration process. There are over 5,000 agencies and the increasing numbers also gives you more choice in the matter. Despite what you hear, law firms are not allowed to be directly involved in the registration process, but few have qualified to be agents so double check!
2. Decide whether your mark is eligible for registration
By viewing the booklet of registered trademarks you can see if yours is eligible for registration. The process is not the same as the US because someone else could have registered your trademark if you have not done it early enough and then legally be protected to use your trademark. So do it early! Look at these other tips to know when registering your trademark.
3. Fill out the Application forms
The letter of entrustment, or the trademark registration application must be fully filled out in Chinese, so you’ll need the help of your agent. You’ll also need a lot copies but this information will be given to you by your agent so don’t fret.
4. Select the classes of goods you qualify for
There are 42 different classes of goods, along with many sub-classes, that you can register your trademark for, so take a good look and think about what classes your product is used currently and in the future to avoid more work later.
5. Check for similar trademarks prior to submission
Your agent should preform this step to ensure that your trademark is eligible to be registered but basically what they do is search databases, including Chinese characters, to check and see if there are similar ones.
6. If eligible, apply for priority registration
A letter of priority showing the international recognition from a international treaty or agreement of your trademark will allow you to get priority registration rights and speed up the process. Note that you should have a translated copy.
7. Submission of application
Your agent will submit all the required paperwork to the SAIC Trademark office in Beijing to get the ball rolling.
8. Review by Trademark Office
All the materials submitted must be reviewed and evaluated before you can go on to the next step.
9. Publication in Trademark Gazette as preliminary step, or rejection of the application
Publication in the Trademark Gazette, along with all other trademarks registered at the same time, is just the first step to the finalization of registration. These gazettes are then shared publically and if no one finds any copycats within three months, you’ve made it. In the chance that your trademark was rejected, you will have a chance to have an administrative review to find out what prevented the registration and get it sorted out.
Now you’ve done it! Congratulations! Now you just need to maintain your trademark registration status and keep copycats from arising.