How long does the trademark registration process take in China?
The trademark registration process usually takes 14 months. When a trademark application is submitted, it takes roughly 3 months for the Chinese Trademarks Database to update. Afterwards, the trademark office reviews the completeness and validity of the submitted documents and issues an acknowledgment of the trademark filing within 2-3 months of application submission.
Why is it important to register your trademark early in China?
China is a first-to-file country - this means whoever files first for a trademark owns it. If you are interested in doing business in China, filing your trademark early is strongly recommended. Not only would it protect your brand, it would also give you credibility when it comes to operating business in the country.
Can I use my existing US trademark application as the basis to file a China trademark?
Since both US and China are part of the Paris Convention, if someone files a trademark application in a Paris Convention country and then files a second application in another convention country within 6 months of the date of the original filing, she can claim the first filing date as the date for her subsequent applications. For example, Amy filed a trademark application in the US on March 1, 2018. In her case, she would have until September 1, 2018 to file a trademark application for the same goods and services in China claiming the early filing date of March 1, 2018.
Who can register a trademark in China?
All foreign individuals and foreign and domestic legal entities or businesses can register a trademark in China. Domestic individuals cannot register a trademark in China.
What can I register as a trademark?
Any combination of letters, words, sounds, designs and shapes that identify your goods and services from those of others can be registered.
How long is the trademark registration process in China?
On average, the registration process can take anywhere from 12 to 24 months.
How long does a trademark registration last?
The validity period of a registered trademark is 10 years, commencing from the date of registration.
How can I renew my trademark registration?
To renew a trademark registration, all formalities and forms must be completed within 12 months of the trademark’s expiration date. The validity period of each renewal is 10 years commencing from the day following the expiration of the previous 10 year validity period.
What if I don’t renew my trademark before the expiration date?
A registrant that fails to renew the trademark before the expiration date may be granted a six-month grace period before having their mark cancelled if they do not take action within that time.
Is it necessary to declare/prove use of the trademark upon renewal?
How much does it cost to register a trademark in China?
The official fee for one trademark application for a single class, for no more than 10 items (goods or services) in that class, is RMB300 (about 48USD). There is an extra charge of RMB30 per each additional item.
What is a first-to-file principal?
China uses a first-to-file system for trademark registration. This means that you do not have to prove that you are using the trademark in order to get registered. Therefore there are no common-law trademarks in China and you need to file for a trademark in order to receive protection for your services or goods.
Is a People’s Republic of China agent required when filing a foreign application in China?
Yes, a PRC agent is required to file a trademark for an individual who is foreign to China.
How are goods and services classified?
Goods and services are classified using the Nice Classification system. However, China uses its own set of Chinese sub-classifications. These sub-classifications can be considered completely independent from each other so it’s important to register your trademark in all relevant classes.
Can I file my application electronically?
Yes, electronic application is available for trademark filing.
Can I apply to file a trademark internationally and not only in China?
Yes, thanks to the Madrid Protocol, you can file a trademark internationally through the WIPO (without using a PRC agent). This process takes much more time and is more prone to pitfalls and obstacles.
How will I receive correspondence from the CTMO?
Any correspondence with the trademark office will come in the form of a written letter on paper, whether the application was filed electronically or not.
Is a manual needed when identifying the type of goods or services to include in my application?
Yes. Similar to the US and Canada, each having their own Goods and Services Manual, China has their own Chinese Identification Manual that must be used when classifying and specifying goods and services.
How do I claim priority rights for my filing?
First of all, you can only claim priority rights if you already have a trademark in another country or jurisdiction that is recognized by China. You can claim priority rights if: it’s in accordance with any agreement between China and a foreign country; if it’s in accordance with an international treaty in which both countries have a part; or if it’s on the basis of mutual recognition of your right to priority filing based on various factors.
How do I file for priority rights?
To file for priority rights, you must register the same trademark that you have registered in the first country according to the same goods or services in China within six months of the original trademark’s application date.
If the CTMO raises any objections to the application, can I amend the application?
Yes. Under the Regulation of Implementation of the Trademark Law, on receipt of a notice of supplement or correction from the trademark office, any applicant, whether federal or domestic has the opportunity to amend their application.
How long do I have to correct my application in response to an objection?
You have 30 days to make the supplement or correction. If you do not respond to the objection, the Trademark Office will reject your application and notify you of the rejection in writing. Once the application has been rejected, there are no legal procedures available for you to adjust the application.
How long does the publication phase last in the Trademark Gazette?
The publication phase lasts for 3 months, and in that time third parties can file to oppose your trademark if they find issue between your mark and theirs.
What is an opposition?
During the publication phase of an application, if a third party finds issue with a published trademark, they can oppose the mark and submit evidence to have the mark cancelled.
If my application is rejected, can it be appealed?
Where do I appeal a rejected application?
You can appeal to the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board (TRAB) and then to the People’s Court of China, if the decision made is still unsatisfactory
What is the process for appealing a rejected trademark?
After receiving a decision of rejection from the Trademark Office, you have 15 days to apply to the TRAB for a review. The board will make a decision within nine months of receiving the application and notify you in writing.
Are there any exceptions that apply to the appeal process?
The time limit may be extended by three months under special circumstances. You may also institute an action against a decision of the TRAB in the People’s Court of China within 30 days of receiving it.
What is the usual timeframe from filing to registration?
The Trademark Office is mandated to complete the examination of a trademark within nine months of the date of filing. Your mark is then published in the Trademark Gazette, provided your application complies with the relevant legal provisions. If nobody files an opposition against the published application within 3 months of the publication date, the trademark will be registered, a certificate of registration will be issued, and the registration will be published.
What is the usual timeframe for opposition proceedings?
On expiry of the publication period, it normally takes 12 months for the Trademark Office to make a decision to approve or deny the opposed registration and notify the complainant and applicant of its decision in writing.
Are there exceptions to the timeframe for opposition proceedings?
Yes, under special circumstances the time limit may be extended to 6 months.
Are opposition decisions subject to appeal?
Yes. Both parties can pursue an appeal of the decision.
How do I appeal an opposition decision?
The applicant has 15 days to apply to the TRAB Board for a review after receiving the decision.
What if the TRAB throws out my appeal?
If the TRAB gives you an unsatisfactory ruling, you may institute an action in a people’s court within 30 days of receiving the decision. The people’s court will notify the opponent to participate in the action as a third party.
What rules and procedures govern the assignment of trademark rights to another party?
According to trademark law, for a registered trademark to be assigned to another party, both parties must sign an agreement and jointly file an application with the Trademark Office
Must an assignment be recorded to have legal effect?
Yes, it must be recorded.
Can a mark be cancelled for non-use?
Yes. According to trademark law, when the use of a registered trademark has ceased for 3 consecutive years without good reason, any entity or individual can apply to the Trademark Office for cancellation of the registered trademark.
How long does it take for the Trademark Office to make a decision on the cancellation of a mark?
Typically, the Trademark Office will make a decision within nine months of receiving the application (under special circumstances, the time limit may be extended by three months).
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