In 2017, more than 5.7 million applicants applied for registering a brand in China. This number increased by 55% compared to 2016. For comparison: only 600,000 applications were filed with the US Patent Office in 2017. Moreover, by the end of 2017, there were 14.9 million active registrations in China, 2.2 million in the United States.
However, due to the large number of competing trademarks, misunderstanding of the language features, errors in documentation, many brand registrations application are being turned down in China. For 20-25% of applications, CNIPA denies registration and 10-15% applicants have to narrow their scope of legal protection. For example, they have to narrow the list of declared products, or exclude certain elements of their brand from the protection scope.
What is a brand application in China?
Any verbal or graphic designation can count as a brand in China, including letters, numbers, three-dimensional figures, color combinations, sound designations. It can be any combination of these objects that do not contradict the legislation of the PRC. The main executive body in the field of intellectual property in China is the PRC Patent Office. The law governing the registration of a brand in China is the PRC Trademark Law.
Registering a brand in China will allow you to freely use it for the appropriate list of goods and services, without fear of receiving claims from third parties or problems with customs authorities. Additionally, it will help to prohibit the use of your mark in China by third parties without your permission.
Brand application in China: how long it takes to register your brand?
The procedure for registering a brand in China can take about 2 years.
Who can fill a brand application in China?
Any natural or legal person, group of persons or organization can register a brand in China. Foreign applicants seeking protection of their brand in China usually conduct business with the Office through representatives.
How much a brand application in China costs?
The state application fee (per class, online submission) is 270 RMB. However, if the list contains more than 10 goods or services, there is an additional 27 RMB fee per extra item. The cost of renewing the registration for the next 10 years is 450 RMB (per class).
Brand naming is important for registering a brand in China
China National Intellectual Property Administration does not limit applicants in terms of the languages and alphabet. However, practice shows that many companies, especially premium brands, in parallel with their brand name in the Latin alphabet register it also in Chinese characters. This is not only expanding opportunities for using your brand, but also protecting it from local players who like to “copy” successful brands. Doxaganda team can assist brands to choose the right brand naming in China.
The procedure for brand application in China
The procedure for registering a trademark in China includes the following steps:
Submitting a brand application in China
A brand should fill the application in the PRC Office in Chinese with the following details:
- Full name / name and address of the applicant;
- Trademark image;
- List of goods and / or services, grouped according to the classes of International Classification of Goods and Services;
- Power of attorney signed by the applicant or sealed by legal entity persons for applicants going through a representative;
- A copy of the passport (for individual applications) or a copy of the certificate of state registration (for legal entities).
China uses the international classification and CNIPA registers one brand for several classes. At the same time, the department allows the use of the list of declared goods / services only from the list approved by CNIPA, which contains subclasses and subparagraphs within the class. If the applicant decides to submit an “original” description of his goods, the expert of the department will recommend to bring the list in accordance with the standard, or refuse registration.
However, due to the impossibility of excluding classes from the application in case of application refusal, transferring rights or issuing a license for only a part of the classes, it is very common in China to register separate brands for each class. The state registration fee for each class remains the same.
Preliminary check of brand application in China
Chinese authorities check the protectability of a trademark and searching for identical and similar trademarks. The Office also searches for confusingly similar trademarks and determines the degree of similarity between the declared and identified designations. It includes the homogeneity of the declared goods, services, packaging and etc.
Examination of a brand application in China
A brand application in China undergoes an examination. Namely, Chinese authorities check a brand for compliance with all the requirements of the Chinese Law “On Trademarks”.
Publication of trademark information
In case of successful completion of the examination, the department makes a preliminary decision on registering a brand in China. Then, the information about the brand is published in the Official Bulletin.
Submission of objections to the decision of the expert organization
In the case of a preliminary refusal, the applicant has the right, within 15 days from the date of receipt of the notification of the refusal, to submit a reasoned response to the expert organization for re-consideration of the brand application in China. If there is a disagreement with the decision of the expert organization, a brand can submit an application to the people’s court within 30 days from the receipt of the notification of the expert’s decision.
In case of disagreement with the decision of the Expert Organization to register a trademark, any third party has the right to file an objection within 3 months from the date of publication of information about the trademark.
Registering a brand in China, publication and issuance of a certificate
If there are no objections against the registration of a brand in China, it gets a certificate and Chinese authorities publish official notification of the registration of the brand in China. The validity period of a brand registration in China is 10 years from the date of its registration and can be renewed for the next 10-year periods an unlimited number of times.
How Doxaganda will help you with brand application in China
Doxaganda can help you to go through the process of registering your brand in China. It includes finding the right name for your company, design a package and many other services.