Frequently Asked Questions

The average time frame for the registration approval is 15 months, if no objections or oppositions arise.

No. A registered mark is protected only in Mainland China.

Yes. A signed power of attorney is necessary.

The benefits from a pre-filing use are minimal since rights are obtained via registration. However, the applicant can use this to demonstrate the mark’s distinctiveness and overcome oppositions on the ground of non-distinctiveness.

Yes. A registered mark can be attacked on the ground of non-use.

The following marks or signs are accepted for registration:
  • Words
  • Names
  • Devices
  • Certain 3-dimensional shapes
  • Slogans
  • Colours
  • Sounds
  • Get-up or trade dress
  • Combination of all of the above elements
  • Collective marks
  • Service marks
  • Certification marks
  • Well-known marks

A trademark application in China has 3 phases:
  • Examination
  • Publication
  • Registration

The following marks are prohibited from registration:
  • Marks that are against the moral standards or public order of China
  • Generic words or terms
  • Symbol, flag, or name of a state, nation, region, or an international organization
  • Marks that lack distinctive qualities
  • Marks that are used primarily to indicate a geographical location name
  • Marks that may mislead consumers

Yes. China uses the system of Nice Classification.

No. Community Trademark does not apply for China.

Yes. Applicants may claim priority application if the following conditions are met:
  • If the applicant’s home country is a member of the Paris Convention
  • If the date of the home application is within 6 months prior to the filing of an application in China.
  • If the applicant’s home country is a member of the World Trade Organization
  • If an international registration can be based on this registration

The registered mark must be used within 3 consecutive years after registration. The use requirement is minimal and must occur in China.

The registered mark is valid for 10 years.

The first renewal of the trademark will take place 10 years after the date of registration grant.

Using an unregistered mark for tobacco products is illegal.

The answer to this question depends on the characteristics of your mark, your budget and the scope of protection that you would like to have in China.
  • If your trademark contains distinctive verbal elements (text) as well as design elements (graphics or logos) and you wish both to be protected, our recommendation is to file two trademark applications; one to protect just the verbal elements (the application will be filed as “Word Mark”) and another to protect just the design elements (the application will be filed as “Combined Mark”).
  • In this case, proceeding with two trademark applications has the following advantages:
    • Registering your trademark in its original version, as well as local transliteration/translation, will provide a greater protection from any possible infringements.
    • You will be protected if your logo evolves. It is common for companies to change the design of their logo with time. If you file a “Combined Mark” and not a “Word Mark,” your new logo will not be protected. You must use your trademark exactly as registered; if you don’t, your trademark may be subject to cancellation.
    • Effective verbal and graphics protection. Filing a “Word Mark” application provides greater flexibility to use your mark in different ways, whether it is presenting it in stylized text or presenting it with different designs (as long as they are not too similar to registered trademarks that belong to third parties). At the same time, filing a “Combined Mark” allows you to protect the design elements of your mark.
  • If your trademark also contains a slogan or a distinctive design symbol, we suggest you file a specific application for each, as this will give you additional protection.

Yes, for a broader and stronger protection in China, we recommend registering your trademark in local characters.
If the trademark is registered only in its original version (Latin characters), the protection does not always properly protect its equivalent in the local language. This means that a third party could use or register the same trademark (or a similar one) in local characters.
In additional to the legal benefits, the registration and use of the trademark in local characters can also have commercial benefits. The public in China will recognize your brand more easily if they are able to read and correctly pronounce the mark.
Registering your trademark in its original version, as well as local transliteration/translation, will provide a greater protection from any possible infringements.

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