Trade Marks in China

Over the past few years, we have noted a huge rise in the appetite and interest for trade mark protection in China. With the system in China differing greatly to the system in the UK and the EU, it is important that any advice we provide to you is tailored to the region in which you wish to file.

With this in mind, we are delighted to announce that Yann Tang is joining our team. Yann is a qualified Chinese lawyer and Patent Agent, having worked in Shanghai for 7 years as a qualified lawyer specialising in intellectual property law, arbitration and litigation, and company compliances.

Yann is now embarking on another journey to dual qualify in the UK. Yann is now part of the team at Lawdit and the Trademarkroom, to assist with all Chinese trade mark matters, as well as other matters in her role as a Trainee UK Solicitor. Since September 2021, she has been pursuing her LLM degree at Queen Mary University of London and will continue to do so alongside her training.

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Overview of the Chinese Trade Mark System

As the law is so different in China to that of the UK, Yann has kindly prepared the following overview of what you can expect to consider when putting together your Chinese trade mark application!

The Trademark Law 2019 (Amendment) defines the types of trademarks including goods trademark, service trademark, collective marks and certification marks. This law empowers the owner of trademark exclusive rights to use the registered marks and to stop infringement.

The trademark for registration shall be distinctive for easy identification and may not be in conflict with any prior legal rights acquired by others. Any distinctive sign including word, design, letter, numeral, three-dimensional symbol, combination of colours, and sound, as well as a combination of the above, may serve as a trademark for registration application in China.

China National Property Administration (CNIPA) is designated to be the competent authority to review trademark application and non-contentious disputes.

The holder of a trademark well known by the relevant public which has not been registered in China may file a request for well-known trademark protection if believing that there is any infringement upon its rights.

The SAMR and the courts of competent jurisdiction have the rights to determine trademark infringement and impose the penalties including confiscating illegal gains, collecting fines, sealing up or detaining the counterfeit product, pre-suit injunction and deciding the amount of compensation.

Trademark infringers shall be liable to pay a compensation in the sum of up to 5 million yuan, even under the circumstance that the losses incurred to the trademark owner, the gains obtained by the infringer as well as the royalty generated from the trademark are difficult to determine.

The Criminal Law 2020 (Amendment) introduces that under certain circumstance, whoever infringing trademark rights shall be sentenced to fixed term imprisonment of up to three years.

A trademark shall be registered for a period of ten years from the date of registration, and the registration may be renewed for further periods of ten years.

If you would like some further information on how to register your brand in China, then please do get in touch with Yann and the team today.