Trademarks Protecting your Intellectual Property
Do you need help with Trademark Registration in Asia?
Lawyers in the AsiaBridge Law network can arrange trademark registrations in most parts of Asia. As the number of project in China make up the majority of the work orchestrated by AsiaBridge Law’s IP team, here is an overview of the trademark registration process in China in particular.
China Trademark Registration Procedure
- Search in the database of China Trademark Office (CTO) to make sure the trademark has not previously been registered.
- Organize the technical translations and prepare all documents.
- Prepare and submit application to the CTO upon official confirmation received that no errors are found.
- Follow the application and update client as the application moves through the various bureaus.
Documents required by AsiaBridge Law from Client
1. Desired Trademark (text name and/or a logo). The JPG should be in black and white, not bigger than 1 MB. English text of the trademark/ Chinese text of the trademark.
Logo: Most of logos are in certain color. However, if you submit your application in this certain color, then your right is limited to this single color. It means if your logo is in red and you apply for red, then you can’t stop other people to use the logo in green. We strongly suggest our clients to send us a digital copy of the logo in black and white, so the protection will cover all colors. In JPG format, not bigger than 1MB.
Chinese text of the trademark: Even if you don't plan to see your product in China, you should still protect the Chinese translation of your brand. It's the same price so do it anyway! If you don’t register a Chinese name, someone else could register the Chinese transliteration of your trademark to make consumers believe that they are connected to your brand (like what happened with ‘Air Jordan – Qiaodan’ http://chinasourcinginfo.org/2012/03/07/michael-jordan/!)
Can ABL translate my brand into Chinese?
Translating a company’s name into Chinese is a specialized art form. It would be unwise to have a lawyer or random Chinese-speaking contact come up w the local language name. The internet is full of stories of overseas companies who end up with embarrassing Chinese brand names. To make things even more complex, different dialects across China pronounce names differently with different meanings. So picking a name that is suitable for a China-wide audience is no easy task.
The good news is that there are advertising companies and even online freelancers who specialize in coming up with Chinese language brands. If you have hired ABL for the general counsel service, you could use that block of time to have the ABL team conduct the research to find a Chinese branding specialist. Alternatively, you may be able to conduct similar online research rather than engaging the legal team to do it for you.
2. Description of products and services (within each class you must specify your products and services).
Class: For the purpose of trademark application, we use Nice Classification prepared by World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) (http://www.wipo.int/classifications/nivilo/nice/index.htm ). Any certain classification contains many different categories. Please pick the relevant classification and categories for your trademark application. Applications with more than one classification, will be treated as multiple different applications; and under one classification, as many as ten categories can be selected (above that, extra fee will be charged).
3. User Information: details of the administrative contact (this is the person where all communications will arrive).
4. ID of applicant (if it’s an individual) or business license of applicant (if it’s an entity).
5. Power of Attorney (if needed in some cases).
The total procedure time depends on the project scope and national holidays, but the average project takes 18 months from the time the application is submitted to the point where the IP is protected.
- Trademark acceptance notice will be issued about two months from submission of application.
- A public announcement of the trademark will be made.
- If no objection is posted within 6 month, official license will be issued about three months later.
As China is a “first to register” system, it’s important to be the first person to start the process!