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Why should I register a trademark in China?

The importance of registering a trademark in China is often overlooked and sometimes ignored by foreigners.


Many are unaware of the fact that China is a first-to-file country, which simply means that the person who registers the trademark first, will get all the rights to distribute and sell the products.


There are many pitfalls you need to avoid when registering a trademark, it’s also important that you know about the process when registering one.


How high are the costs? How long time does it take?


In this article, I explain the crucial information you need to know when registering a trademark in China.


Why should I register a trademark in China?


Applying for a trademark is a crucial and important step that’s often ignored or overlooked by exporters.


China is a “first-to-file” country which means that the person who registers a trademark for a product, will also have all exclusive rights to distribute and sell the product.


You won’t unless you register the trademark first.


The fact is that it’s practically impossible to engage in the Chinese market long term, without registering your trademark.


Trademark registration is often required by e-commerce sites and distributors.


Not only do many Chinese e-commerce websites require that you register your trademark overseas (and in China). If you plan to sell via a local distributor, they will request you upfront to register your trademark, before any trading takes place.


Why is that?


Because you can’t license your products to a distributor without having your trademark (brand) registered in China.


You should also be careful with distributors who insist to register your trademark for you, might it be out of goodwill, or not.


Worth mentioning is that you won’t have anything to say in case a Chinese individual decides to sell your products, without your consent. How can you prove that someone has infringed on your brand when it’s not even registered?


You can’t claim something that can’t be demonstrated to be yours.


Trademark squatters


In China, there’s even a word called “trademark squatters” for persons who actively try to register trademarks for the purpose of earning money or to make things harder for you.


It can be everything from a competitor who wants to reduce your chances of making profits in China, to persons who file a number of trademarks for the purpose of selling these later.


Sadly, some exporters simply have to pay the fee required (sometimes stretching up to USD 250,000) to get “back” the trademark (also called bad-faith registrations).


What other choice do you have, if the remaining option is to get kicked out of the Chinese market?


* If you encounter the above problems, please contact XDR IP immediately, our trademark lawyer will provide you with professional advice and services.





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