English Speaking Lawyer China: Maximizing Trademark Application in China (Part 2)
What business assets can be protected with a TM application in China?
Introduction to the Q&A with English-Speaking Chinese Lawyers
In this blog post, our Chinese lawyer answers some of the more common questions about legal procedures and court cases in China.
The answers are provided for general reference and are given in a straightforward format, without the “Chinglish” or “Legalese” that you may encounter when dealing with other attorneys in China.
Background: Language Barriers and English-Speaking Chinese Lawyers.
- Western lawyers aren’t allowed to practice in China.
- Chinese lawyers fluent in English are hard to find and expensive.
- AsiaBridge Law carefully screens, trains, and coordinates a network of local lawyers across Asia. Lawyers are selected for the right mix of professionalism, honesty, and affordability.
- AsiaBridge Law paralegals coordinate local lawyers on behalf of the AsiaBridge Law clients while providing account management in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and other major languages.
The short answer is “logos, slogans and brand names”.
A full answer needs to explain how product classifications work and how multiple colors, languages, fonts and images can be protected under a Trademark registration in China (Trademarks Protecting your Intellectual Property).
To help build the most comprehensive application possible, consider the following:
- Brand Name
Not just the name in English, but also the name in the local language of the target market. The brand “coke” is found around the world, but English language “coke” is supplemented by local language “kekou kele” in China for example. Both languages need protection.
Not just in English, but also in the local language as well.
The logo is essentially an image file. If you have variations of your corporate logo, share them all with your lawyer in hopes coverage can be extended to all of them.
If your slogan and brand appear in a propriety font (think the “Coca-Cola” script) your application should aim to protect not only the brand in that font, but also prevent other brands from using your specific font!
- Classifications & Categories
For the purpose of the trademark application, China uses the Nice Classification system prepared by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). This system has 45 Classifications and under each classification you will find many different sub-classifications called “categories”. It is important to pick the relevant classification and categories for your trademark application and know that owning a trademark on your brand name is not the same as owning a unique name. “Delta” is often given as an example of how one brand name has been trademarked by multiple companies. Delta Airlines, Delta Facets, Delta Dental….Applications with more than one classification are treated as different applications.
About the Author: Michael J. Bellamy
Originally from Upstate New York, Mike moved to Asia in 1993 and is a China business advisor to both Fortune 500 companies and small businesses. Recognized as an expert on doing business in China, he has been interviewed by WSJ, CNBC, FT & Bloomberg.
A featured presenter on China issues at seminars, trade shows and corporate events across the globe.
Learn more about Mike and AsiaBridge Law at