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IP Protection


Changes to China’s IP laws have already been made in an effort to better protect businesses and IP protection has enrooted into most local business sectors. Under the 13th Five Year Plan for the Protection and Enforcement of Intellectual Property, the Chinese government has been actively enforcing patent law.


IP Finance

Why Trademark Matters?

Tips on Trademark

China has its own laws and rules relating to trademarks, different from those of the United States. Failure to note the discrepancies might result in trouble or losses.


The Chinese Trademark Office (CTMO) operates on a “first in, first served” basis, which allows any third-party, Chinese or foreigners, to register any trademarks in China, including the trademarks that you have created. Following the acceptation of the third-party’s registration, the rightful owner of “your” trademark is entitled to the exclusive right on that trademark and will prevent you from using it in China. In practice, the potential risks are as follows:

  • Impossibility to sell and distribute in China

  • Difficulties to manufacture in China

  • Difficulties to open a brick-and-mortar store

  • Difficulties to distribute on e-commerce platforms 

Here are some practical tips for US companies to protect trademarks:

  • Always file a trademark application as early as possible, before commercial prospection and contact with potential suppliers

  • Broaden the scope of protection when filing new applications

  • Design equivalent Chinese trademarks, preferably through Chinese trademark counsel

  • Request a Chinese Registration Certificate for an internationally registered trademark, and be cautious about the specification

  • Keep ownership of similar trademarks on similar goods or services consistent

  • Do not use the registration symbol ®️ in China before approval

  • Keep evidence of a trademark’s use

  • Register copyright of the originally created device earlier

  • Use the AIC to enforce trademarks 

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