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China Trademark Registration Procedures

China Trademark Registration Procedures

1.       Trademark Pre-filling Search

Before applying to register a trademark, it is advisable to find out if someone else has already registered or has applied to register the same or similar trademark with the applicantís. (Please refer to Kaizenís article for further details: https://www.kaizencpa.com/Knowledge/info/id/572.html) It can minimize risks of rejection and increase the chance of successful registration. With respect to the results of the trademark pre-filling search, the applicant may assess whether to apply for such trademark or to make modifications or adjustments.

2.       Filling Application

Completed the Trademark Pre-filling Search, the applicant may independently or authorize a legally established trademark agency to submit an application. In China, the applicants that can be accepted by the Trademark Office includes companies, individually owned business, foreign companies or foreign natural persons. Natural persons of Mainland China shall not apply for trademarks in their own name. The application documents include:

(1)
A duly completed registration form;
(2)
A clear graphical representation of the trademark;
(3)
An applicantís main qualification and certification materials (e.g.: certificate of incorporation or business license for companies and passport for individuals);
(4)
A signed Power of Attorney (if applicant authorize an agency);
(5)
Priority documents. Documents can be filed within 3 months after the date of the application (if priority is claimed).

3.       Examination

After submitting the application, the Trademark Office will conduct formality examination and substantive examination. Formality examination is to examine the format of the application documents, mainly confirm whether the application is filled in according to the rules, whether the trademark presentation conforms to the specifications, whether the certification documents are completed. In the substantive examination, Trademark Office will see whether the trademark application satisfies the registration requirements laid down in the PRC Trademark Law. They will also conduct a search on their database and see if the same or similar trademark has already been registered or been applied for by another trader in the same class or similar goods/services. Usually it takes around 9-12 months for examination.
 

4.       Publication and Registration

If the trademark meets all the requirements, it will be preliminary published in the Trademark Journal. Any interested parties who believe that the trademark violates relevant provisions of the Trademark Law, may file an opposition to the State Intellectual Property Office within 3 months from the date of publication. If there is no opposition filed during the publication period or if the opposition is rejected by the Trademark Office, the trademark becomes effective. Afterwards, the Trademark Office will announce the registration of the trademark and issue a registration certificate to the applicant. Currently it takes around 12 - 18 months from filing the application until registration in a smooth case.
The flow chart of the whole process is demonstrated below:

Trademark Pre-filling Search


(<15 days)


&#8594;


Filling Application


&#8594;


Examination


(9-12 months)


&#8594;


Publication


(3 months)


&#8594;


Registration



5.      Term and Renewals

(1)
The registration of a trademark is valid for 10 years from the filing date of the registration.
(2)
If the registrant would like to extend the trademark protection period, a request for renewal shall be made within 12 months before the expiry date. Where no request has been filed within the said period, a grace period of 6 months may be allowed. If the request is not filed within the grace period, the registration will be cancelled.


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