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Trademark Guide

TYPES OF TRADEMARKS

Registered trademarks are trademarks approved to be registered by the Trademark Office, including goods trademarks, service trademarks, collective marks, and certification marks.
Said collective marks mean signs which are registered in the name of bodies, associations or other organizations to be used by the members thereof in their commercial activities to indicate their membership of the organizations.
Said certification marks mean signs which are controlled by organizations capable of supervising some goods or services and used by entities or individual persons outside the organization for their goods or services to certify the origin, material, mode of manufacture, quality or other characteristics of the goods or services.

REGISTRABLE  TRADEMARKS

Any sign capable of distinguishing the goods of a natural person, a legal person, or any other organization from those of others, including but not limited to word, design, letter, numeral, three-dimensional symbol, combination of colors, and sound, as well as a combination of the above, may serve as a trademark for registration application.
The trademark for registration shall be distinctive for easy identification, and may not be in conflict with any prior legal rights acquired by others.

THE FOLLOWING SIGNS SHALL NOT BE REGISTERED AS TRADEMARKS

(1) A sign only bearing the generic name, design, or model of the goods.

(2) A sign only directly indicating the quality, main raw materials, functions, uses, weight, quantity, or other features of goods.

(3) Other signs lacking distinctiveness.


THE FOLLOWING SIGNS SHALL NOT BE USED AS TRADEMARKS

(1) A sign identical with or similar to the name, national flag, national emblem, national anthem, military flag, military emblem, military anthem, or decorations, among others, of the People’s Republic of China or identical with the name or symbol of a central state organ, the name of specific place where it is located, or the name or design of its  landmark building.
(2) A sign identical with or similar to the name, national flag, national emblem, or military flag, among others, of a foreign country, except as permitted by the government of the foreign country.
(3) A sign identical with or similar to the name, flag, or emblem of an international intergovernmental organization, except as permitted by the organization or except that it will usually not mislead the public.
(4) A sign identical with or similar to an official sign or an inspection mark which indicates control or provides guarantee,except as authorized.
(5) A sign identical with or similar to the name or sign of the Red Cross or the Red Crescent.
(6) A sign bearing ethnic discrimination.
(7) A sign which is deceptive and easily misleads the public regarding the quality or origin of goods.
(8) Signs detrimental to socialist morality or mores or having any other adverse effect.

FILING REQUIREMENT

A foreign national or a foreign enterprise intending to apply for trademark registration and handle other trademark-related matters in China shall authorize a legally formed trademark agency to do so.
A trademark registration applicant may, in a single application, apply for registration of the same trademark on goods of different classes.
A trademark registration applicant shall, according to the prescribed classification of goods, enter the class and designation of goods on which the trademark is to be used, and file an application for registration.
1. A copy of the certificate of the applicant’s identity which may be the ID card or passport of individual applicant or the certificate of good standing or extract of commercial register of the company.
2. Power of Attorney, signed by the applicant. Notarization and legalization of the Power of Attorney is not required;
3. Application form;
4. One clear print of the label,If the trademark is in color, one black and white label shall be submitted in addition to the color prints;
5. Priority document, if priority is claimed

PRIORITY


Where, within six months from the day when a trademark registration applicant firstly filed an application for registration of a trademark in a foreign country, it applies for registration in China of the same trademark to the used on identical goods, it may enjoy priority according to an agreement concluded between the foreign country and the People’s Republic of China or an international treaty acceded to by both countries, or on the principle of mutual acknowledgement of the right of priority. Priority documents must be submitted to the Trademark Office within three months from the date of filing in China.

APPEAL

An application that is refused by the Trademark Office may be appealed to the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board within fifteen days from receipt of the notification.
If the party is not satisfied with the decision made by the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board, he may institute a legal action in court within 30 days from receipt of the notification.

PUBLICATION

Applications that have passed examination will be published in the Trademark Gazette, published weekly, for opposition purpose. The prior right owner or any interested party may, within three months from the date of publication, oppose against the trademark.

OPPOSITION

The prior right owner or any interested party may, within three months from the date of publication, oppose against a preliminarily approved trademark. If the Trademark Office makes a decision to approve the application for registration of the trademark, a certificate of trademark registration shall be issued and the trademark shall be published. If the opponent party dissatisfies with the decision, he may, request the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board to declare the registered trademark invalid.

MODIFICATION, ASSIGNMENT OF REGISTERED TRADEMARKS

Where the name or address of registrant or any other registered matter of a registered trademark needs to be modified, an application for modification shall be filed.
Where a registered trademark is assigned, the assignor and the assignee shall enter into an assignment agreement, and jointly file an application with the Trademark Office.

PROCEDURES FOR REGISTERING A TRADEMARK

Trademark search prior to registration(not a necessary step)→ file a trademark registration application with trademark office→ trademark office issues Notification of Acceptance (1 month)→ preliminary examination (6-8 months)→office action(not a necessary step) →publication of trademark preliminary approval(3 months for publishing)→ opposition (not a necessary step)→ Issuing certificate.

DURATION OF A REGISTERED TRADEMARK

The period of validity of a registered trademark shall be ten years, counted from the date of approval of the registration.
A trademark registrant intending to continue to use the registered trademark upon expiry of the period of validity shall undergo the renewal formalities within 12 months before expiry according to the relevant provisions. If failing to do so, the trademark registrant may be granted a six-month grace period. The period of validity of each renewal is ten years, commencing from the day after the expiry date of the last period of validity. If the renewal formalities are not undergone within the grace period, the registration of the trademark shall be cancelled.

CANCELLATION

Where a registered trademark becomes a common name of goods on which it is approved to be used or the use of the registered trademark has ceased for three consecutive years without good reasons, any entity or individual may apply to the Trademark Office for cancellation of the registered trademark.