Register a Trademark in China – Cheap Chinese Trademark Registration
Are you a global business with exposure in China? Do you think about expanding your business to China? Do you want to protect your brand in China?
Let us help you with registering your trademark in China. No broken English, no miscommunication. Let us make the process easy for you.
Important highlights about the China registration process:
- China is a “first-to-file” country, unlike Canada or USA. It means that the first person to file a trademark application will generally have priority over a prior user of the trademark.
- It is important to apply for trademark protection in China as early as possible.
- In China, applications can be filed and registered without evidence of use.
- Multiple class applications are possible but not recommended as they are more likely to encounter complications during the registration process.
- A trademark is valid for 10 years and can be renewed every 10 years.
- If a trademark has not been used in China for three years, it may be subject to cancellation for non-use.
- It takes about 9-12 months to register a trademark and starting from 2019 Chinese Trademarks Office plans to make the registration process quicker.
We have a designated Chinese practitioner in-house so we can take care of all your legal needs in China, from filing to opposition and litigation.
Pricing of Our Packages
The prices are in USD$ for China
- Covers filing your application and reporting the progress all the way to registration. Single class. This is our entry-level package.
- Covers full trademark registration, including reporting and responding to non-substantive examiner’s objections. Single class. Re-filing guarantee.
Details about Chinese trademark packages
Government fees are not included in our packages and are extra
When filing in China, a common question is whether the English version of the trademark is sufficient, or whether a corresponding trademark in Chinese characters should be filed as well.
For the Chinese transliteration, please see our suggestions below:
Generally, for an overseas brand which will officially enter the Chinese market, it is strongly suggested to file a corresponding Chinese mark.
This is because that
1) From a business perspective, a Chinese mark is easier to remember and recognize for Chinese consumers;
2) For the products like food, cosmetics, etc. imported to China, a Chinese name of the brand is officially required and needs to be posted on the package;
3) If it happens the client has no corresponding Chinese name for its brand, then the client’s authorized agency in China may create a Chinese mark by itself and sometimes even register such a name as its trademark. If this Chinese mark becomes known, it will be too late for the client to create a new Chinese name. In the meantime, it is not easy to take back that Chinese mark registered by the agency since China is strictly a first to file country;
4) If a foreign brand does not have an official Chinese name, it is very likely that the Chinese consumers will voluntary create a Chinese name for it to make it easier to remember and such Chinese name will be vulnerable to be pre-emptively registered by trademark squatters.
Below is a real-world example to illustrate point 3 above:
When Filorga went into Chinese market, they found that the Chinese agency of Filorga has registered a Chinese name “菲洛嘉” in China several years ago. What’s more, based on the promotion by the Chinese agency, the Chinese name had become widely known by Chinese consumers. Filorga had no choice but to use that same Chinese name and they paid a lot of money to buy the Chinese name back from the Chinese agency.
The bottom line:
If budget allows, file your trademark in English and Chinese characters to be fully protected in China. We do give discounts if you file two versions, i.e. FILORGA and 菲洛嘉 (from the example above).
To open in a new tab, click: Should we file our trademark in Chinese characters in China?
Every trademark application must list the specific goods and services that the trademark will cover.
Products belong to classes 1 to 34. Services belong to classes 35 to 45.
Products are tangible, you can touch them. Services are intangible.
Below is a rough classification (class headings) just to give you an idea of general categories (please note that the below list cannot be used for trademark filing)
Class 1: Chemicals (including those used in agriculture, industry and science)
Class 2: Paints, coatings, varnishes, colorants for food.
Class 3: Cosmetics, creams and serums, cleaning products including soap and shampoo, bleaching and abrasives, non-medicated toiletry preparations, false eyelashes, essential oil, perfume
Class 4: Fuels, industrial oils, greases, lubricants, candles
Class 5: Pharmaceutical and veterinary products, food supplements and vitamins, baby food, disinfectants, fungicides, herbicides, plasters, dental wax
Class 6: Metals, metal castings, metal hardware, metal containers, locks, safes
Class 7: Machines and machine tools and their parts, motors and engines (except for land vehicles)
Class 8: Hand-operated tools and implements, razors, cutlery
Class 9: Computers, computer hardware, computer cables, cell phones and cell phone cases, data carriers, computer software, downloable publications including e-books, videos and podcasts
Class 10: Medical and dental instruments and apparatus, massage apparatus, sex toys
Class 11: Products for lighting, heating, steam generating, cooking, refrigerating, drying, ventilating, water supply and sanitary purposes including lamps and kettles
Class 12: Land, air and nautical vehicles, motors and engines for land vehicles
Class 13: Firearms, ammunition, explosives, fireworks, holsters
Class 14: Precious metals, watches, jewellery
Class 15: Musical instruments
Class 16: Paper, items made of paper, stationery products, artists’ products, printed products including photographs, stickers, notebooks, party ornaments of paper
Class 17: Rubber, asbestos and plastic Items, pipes and tubes
Class 18: Leather and leather goods, bags, wallets, animal apparel, collars and leashes for animals
Class 19: Building and construction materials (non-metallic), non-metal monuments
Class 20: Furniture, mirrors, picture frames, storage containers not of metal, party ornaments of plastic
Class 21: Kitchen utensils, crockery, containers, cleaning implements, toothbrushes
Class 22: Ropes and strings, tents, nets, awnings, sacks, padding, canvas material and raw fibrous textile material
Class 23: Yarns, threads
Class 24: Textiles, fabrics, blankets, covers, towels
Class 25: Clothing, footwear and headgear
Class 26: Sewing products, lace and embroidery, artificial flowers, hair decorations like ribbons, false hair
Class 27: Carpets, linoleum, wall and floor coverings, wall hangings
Class 28: Sports equipment, video game apparatus, games, toys, Christmas decorations
Class 29: Dairy products, meat and fish, processed and preserved foods, including dried, frozen and cooked fruits and vegetables, milk, eggs, edible oils and fats, jamps, jellies
Class 30: Staple foods, spices, bakery products, confectioneries, tea, coffee
Class 31: Fresh fruit and vegetables, live animals, animal food, seeds, fresh herbs, plants and flowers
Class 32: Non-alcoholic beverages, preparations for making beverages, fruit juices, beer
Class 33: Alcoholic beverages, except beer
Class 34: Tobacco products and smokers’ articles, matches, electronic cigarettes
Class 35: Retail services including online retail store, advertising, business consulting, business management
Class 36: Insurance and financial services, real estate services
Class 37: Building construction, repair and maintenance services, installation services
Class 38: Telecommunication services, broadcasting services including video broadcasting
Class 39: Transport, logistics and storage, travel services
Class 40: Treatment of materials, custom assembly, recycling and waste management
Class 41: Education services, including arranging and conducting educational classes and seminars, entertainment services, book publishing, organizing exhibitions and conferences
Class 42: Saas and Paas services (Software as a service and platform as a service), IT services, software development, graphic design services, website development, scientific and technological services
Class 43: Restaurants, cafes, hotels, catering services
Class 44: Medical services, hygienic and beauty care services, dental services, veterinary services
Class 45: Personal and social services, legal services, security services
For a more in-depth discussion read this article: Taking Advantage of the Trademark Classification
To open in a new tab, click: Classification of Goods and Services in a Trademark Application (class headings)
When deciding whether to file for either a word mark or logo, it is important to keep in mind that a logo must always be used as it is depicted in your application. In addition, if you file your logo in a particular color in the US, you must always use your logo in that particular color.
On the other hand, word marks are somewhat more flexible. When filed in all capital letters, word marks allow the trademark owner to display it in any combination of lower case and upper case letters.
For example, if you filed for the word mark TRADEMARK ANGEL ROCKS, you can use it on your goods and/or services as: trademark angel rocks, Trademark Angel Rocks, or TraDeMaRk AnGeL RoCkS.
The flexibility of a word mark ultimately makes it quite appealing as it is not limited to a particular font or color and can be displayed in a combination of upper and lower-case letters.
However, filing for a logo can be more advantageous in some situations.
For example, if your mark is found to be descriptive of your goods/services or uses generic words, your mark will generally be limited to the Supplemental Register. A distinct logo, however, can “carry” the mark to the Principal Register despite the descriptive nature of your mark.
Let’s say you want to file for TRADEMARK REGISTRATION CO. for a company that offers trademark registration services. That’s a mark that is descriptive of the services offered, and will therefore would be limited to registration to the Supplemental Register. If this same mark was filed with a distinctive logo, for example:
Then, the logo could provide sufficient distinctiveness to allow registration of TRADEMARK REGISTRATION CO. onto the Principal Register (with a disclaimer for “TRADEMARK REGISTRATION CO.”).
Another situation when filing for a logo is advantageous is when there are similar marks. For example, a client wanted to register the mark HAWQUE with a design element of a flying hawk – for computer software connecting customers to security contractors, in Class 9. We advised that the logo will most likely be registrable but the wordmark alone would be too similar to marks containing the word HAWK providing similar products in the same class. Although we received an office action alleging that the HAWQUE logo mark was confusingly similar to a registered wordmark, HAWQ, that also covered Class 9 computer software, we were ultimately able to overcome the objection. Our client’s logo, HAWQUE, was successfully registered soon after.
In another case, a client wanted to register the mark ESTEEM APPAREL, either the word mark or the logo. However, in our initial search, we found a very similar, registered mark, ESTEEM CLOTHING. In this case, we advised that the logo would have a greater chance of registration. The client chose to file for the logo instead of the word mark and, although we received a confusion objection based on similarity with ESTEAM and ESTEEM CLOTHING marks, we were able to successfully able to overcome the objection and the mark was successfully registered.
Since the client protected the logo , he now cannot use Esteem Apparel side by side, without the image, in a different font or in ALL CAPITAL letters: ESTEEM APPAREL. On the other hand, if word mark had been filed – ESTEEM APPAREL, he could have used it in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS, in any font, side by side or one word above the other. Logo makes the trademark inflexible and you should not be making even small changes in your use.
In addition, in some cases, one has to file for a logo if the trademark is broken/separated by images or symbols. Please check our article that talks more about it.
Thus, as can be seen from the above examples, it is important to first determine if your mark is too descriptive to achieve registration in the Principal Register, and whether you intend to consistently display your logo on all of your products, prior to making a decision regarding whether to file for a word mark or a logo. Also, in case there are similar marks, filing for the logo may help to differentiate and ultimately achieve registration of your mark.
To open in a new tab, click: Which trademark should I File? Word Mark or Logo?
What is the difference between company name, business name, domain name and brand or trademark?
What are different types of company, domain, business or brand names? Let’s get the names straight to avoid confusion.
- Company name: Legal name of the company, either registered federally or in a certain state (or province in Canada).
Example: Microsoft Corporation
Note: one company may own more than one brand and may do business under more than one name
- Business name or doing business as: Name under which you conduct your business.
- Domain name: Name of your address on the Web.
Example: www.skype.com (Microsoft owns Skype)
- Trademark: A trademark may be one word, a combination of words, or logos (or even sounds and smells!) used to distinguish/differentiate your products or services from those of other entities.
Example: MICROSOFT, , or a combined mark:
Let’s take another example of a giant retailer Kraft Foods.
Company name: Kraft Foods Inc.
12 of Kraft Foods brands are sold worldwide: Cadbury, Jacobs, Kraft, Maxwell House, Milka, Nabisco, Oreo, Oscar Mayer, Philadelphia, Trident and Tang.
For each brand Kraft Foods has a website: cadbury.co.uk; cadbury.com.au; oreo.com; oscarmayer.com, etc.
Not everyone knows that these 12 famous brands are owned by the same giant! It doesn’t really matter, what matters is that everyone knows where do buy their favorite Cadbury chocolate or Oreo cookies and everyone knows how the Oreo cookies package looks like!
To open in a new tab, click: What are different types of names? Company name vs business name vs domain name vs trademark?
If you simply business incorporate or register a corporate name, it doesn’t mean that the government approved for you to use the name as a trademark.
If we take a US LLC, as an example, every state has its own laws about business names.
You can register your LLC name in Delaware but the business name registration has no impact on the other 49 states.
In plain English, if you register Coolapples LLC in Delaware, another entity may register Coolapples LLC in Indiana. If you plan to expand nationwide or worldwide, trademark registration will provide that protection. A federal US trademark will give you exclusive rights to use your brand name for your products across the US. Likewise, a Canadian or Australian trademark will give you country-wide rights to use your chosen brand in your country and will make it easier for your to sell or license your trademark later.
To open in a new tab, click: Do I need to register a trademark if my business incorporated?
Trademark right is a territorial right. trademark protection is necessary to avoid infringement attack and protect your brand name, if your business is ever related to China market, say, exporting to China, OEM business using Chinese manufacturer and are planning to launch the products/services to China market in future.
To open in a new tab, click: Why should I consider registering my trademark in China?
The full legal name of the applicant (either your company or your personal name)
The full address of the applicant.
The trademark name. If you are filing for a logo, we need to see the logo.
The products which you sell or plan to sell under your trademark (provide a list).
The services which you offer or plan to offer under your trademark (provide a list).
Power of attorney.
A copy of your company’s certificate of incorporation (or passport for individual applicant).
To open in a new tab, click: What is required in order to file a trademark application in China?
Since China is a “first-to-file” country, we do not recommend that you use an unregistered trademark in China since it may be stolen by a competitor and registered as “his” or “hers”. We recommend filing in China as soon as you have determined that this jurisdiction is important to your business.
To open in a new tab, click: Can I use my trademark in China if it isn’t registered?
China trademark classification system is based on the NICE classification system and has some modification.
China has developed a sub-classification system for each of the 45 classes. The goods/services in each class are divided into several subclasses according to their function and/or raw materials and sales channels while services are divided based on their content and target consumers. Generally goods falling into the same sub classes are considered similar to each other. Likewise, goods falling in different sub classes are not considered similar.
The sub-classification system not only means that goods/services are further categorized into different sub-classes of the main class heading, but all goods/services applied for have to comply with the goods/services listed in the Chinese Sub-classification Book. If the goods/services applied for are not specifically listed (i.e “standard terms”) they are likely to be rejected. Unfortunately, unlike many other countries, this often means selecting goods/services that are “closest” to the specific goods of interest – as the list is somewhat limited.
To open in a new tab, click: What is the trademark classification system in China? How is it different?
We offer free identical trademark searches (order on our website). Comprehensive search report is $150.
To open in a new tab, click: Do you do a free trademark search in China?
When a trademark application is filed, the China Trademark Office (CTMO) will review the application. Then an official receipt will be issued (usually takes about 2 months for the official receipt to issue). Your trademark will then go through a substantial examination, which will last about 8 months. If everything goes smoothly, we will receive a preliminary publication notice within 9 months from the application date. After 3 months’ opposition period, the trademark will be approved for registration. The whole process takes about 12 months in total.
To open in a new tab, click: Please explain trademark registration process in China.
For foreign geographical names, only those trademarks that are well-known to the public shall not be used as trademarks, but those trademarks that consist of geographical names that have other meanings can be registered.
To open in a new tab, click: Are geographically descriptive marks registrable China?
- Descriptive of the function, quality, materials etc. of the claimed products or other conditions due to lack of distinctiveness;
- Conflict with National Symbol or Geographical names (except those approved by the government of the country concerned, a trademark registration in such country could be used as the evidence of government proof)
- Negative meaning
Confusion with a similar trademark.
To open in a new tab, click: On what grounds can a trademark be refused in China?
(1) the trademarks that are generic names, designs or models of the goods in respect of which the trademark is used;
(2) the trademarks that have direct reference to the quality, main raw materials, function, use, weight, quantity or other features of the goods in respect of which the trademark is used;
To open in a new tab, click: What is considered a clearly descriptive trademark in China and are they registrable?
To open in a new tab, click: Can surnames or full names be registered as trademarks in China?
Division is allowed if part of the goods/services are refused. However, division of multi-class applications/registrations resulting from opposition, assignment, non-use cancellation or invalidation is not allowed. This could cause considerable difficulty if any of these situations were to arise. This is why we do not suggest multi applications.
To open in a new tab, click: Can a Chinese trademark be divided?
A trademark opposition period is 3 months.
To open in a new tab, click: How long is an opposition period in China?
A registered Chinese trademark must be renewed every 10 years.
To open in a new tab, click: How long Chinese trademarks are valid for?
No use is required for filing or registration.
To open in a new tab, click: Do I have to use my trademark in China prior to filing?
- Trademark Registration process in China
- Why you should file your trademark in China now?
- What should a foreign business know about trademark filing in China?
- What Every Business Should Know about Trademarks Registration?
- Should I file a trademark now or should I wait
- When should I not file a trademark?
- In Whose Name Should I File My Trademark?
- What are confusingly similar trademarks?
- When should I claim color for my trademark logo?
- Can I buy someone else’s trademark?
- Taking Advantage of the Trademark Classification & the Trademark Class Systems
- 11 Trademark Tips: how should I list products and services in my trademark application?
- Can you trademark a color alone? Can you copyright a color?
- Launch before you file or file before you launch?
- Why conduct a trademark search?
- Avoiding IP Infringement with Chinese Sourcing
- Trademarks: First-to-use and First-to-file Countries