Steps to registering your trademark in China

Written By Steps To Faculty Published June 29th, 2010

You have a trademark of your corporate logo in the United States and wish to expand your business to other countries, preferably China, to catch the global economic boom. But is your trademark in the United States a universal trademark? No, you will still need to apply for and receive an official registered trademark in the country you select (China) to do business and will use your logo, slogan, or graphic design. Keep in mind that the rules of trademarks in China are vastly different from other countries. For example, in the United States a single creative idea, be it a slogan or logo, that has not been registered for trademark before is eligible for official registration.

In China, however, the first person to trademark an idea will pre-dominate all other persons filing since China uses the first-come, first-file approach. Each trademark that is approved has a life-length of ten years, but can always be renewed. Hence, it is imperative that you apply early for trademark registration in China. Common trademarks include collective, service, certification, and commodity based. Let’s take a deeper look.

Step 1 Seek an attorney

Trying to get a trademark in China is doable but difficult. An international patent attorney would be able to help you research existing trademarks in China to determine the originality of your tangible idea. China does not permit a trademark for sounds or odors. Also the Chinese and English translations are required to register for a trademark in China hence it is necessary to get an international attorney who specializes in this area. A good place to find an attorney is

Step 2 Review the pertinent laws

Investigate any and all laws that relate to international treaties, especially between your host country and China. China adheres to these laws and your trademark is upheld against all treaties, international WTO regulations, and local laws.

Step 3 Identify the scope of your trademark

Identify the scope and class of your trademark. This information is mandatory on the trademark application.

Step 4 Follow the law of China

Be sure to review with your attorney the specific trademark laws of China. Be sure that your trademark does not include any flags of any country or their emblems as this is prohibited in China.

Step 5 File the trademark application

File with the China Trademark Office (or CTMO at If within the last six months you have registered your trademark in another country, then you have priority in registration in China. Go ahead and claim this on your application. Include the Copy of Certification with your application.

Remember, once you do the research the rest is simple.

Roger Due

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