Trademark Search in China

Please find below tutorial on how to perform a trademark search directly with Chinese Trademark Office

Tutorial
In order to perform a Trademark Search in China, please follow these steps:

1. Go to the trademark search section of the “Chinese Trademark Office” website, the direct link is https://goo.gl/3p7Ozo

2. The page that opens is in Chinese, please check the screenshot to the left, it contains the search filters that the search allows. The translations of the texts are as follows:
 
  • A = Trademark Class Number, here enter a number from 1 to 45. If you want to search for all classes, leave this field empty.
  • B = This is a tool that helps you find your class; we recommend that you use our tool that is in english https://goo.gl/67e4vf
  • C = If you want to perform a trademark search by number, enter here your application or registration number.
  • D = If you want to perform a trademark search by name, enter here the trademark name you want to search.
  • E = This is a “contained” option. For example, if you search for “sprite” and this option set, then “sprite zero” should appear as result. If selected this option, the result takes several seconds in being displayed.
  • F = This is a “exact” option. For example, , if you search for “sprite”, the only result that will be given is “sprite”.
  • G = If you want to perform a trademark search by owner, enter here, in Chinese, the owner name you want to search.
  • H = If you want to perform a trademark search by owner, enter here, in English, the owner name you want to search.
  • I = This option sorts results by number or by class
  • J = This is the “Perform Search” button
3. In the next page the list of matched trademark will be displayed, in order to check the details of any trademark just click them.

Please notice that this search engine usually is very slow, but it is the official source for registered trademarks in China.

If you want a Chinese trademark attorney to perform a comprehensive search of your trademark and also give you an opinion about registration’s possibilities, please order a Trademark Comprehensive Study in China.

If you are certain about your registration probabilities in China, start your Trademark Registration in China.
Frequently Asked Question
Is it legal to use my trademark even if it is not yet registered?

Using an unregistered mark for tobacco products is illegal.

What will be the renewal date of my trademark?

The first renewal of the trademark will take place 10 years after the date of registration grant.

Once my trademark has been registered, for how many years will be valid?

The registered mark is valid for 10 years.

What do I need to do to satisfy the use requirement?

The registered mark must be used within 3 consecutive years after registration. The use requirement is minimal and must occur in China.

Is there any possibility to claim priority in China?

Yes. Applicants may claim priority application if the following conditions are met:

  • If the applicant’s home country is a member of the Paris Convention
  • If the date of the home application is within 6 months prior to the filing of an application in China.
  • If the applicant’s home country is a member of the World Trade Organization
  • If an international registration can be based on this registration
Does the Community Trademark apply for China?

No. Community Trademark does not apply for China.

Does China use the "Nice Classification" system?

Yes. China uses the system of Nice Classification.

What type of trademark is not registrable?

The following marks are prohibited from registration:

  • Marks that are against the moral standards or public order of China
  • Generic words or terms
  • Symbol, flag, or name of a state, nation, region, or an international organization
  • Marks that lack distinctive qualities
  • Marks that are used primarily to indicate a geographical location name
  • Marks that may mislead consumers
What are the phases of application after a trademark has been filed in China?

A trademark application in China has 3 phases:

 

  • Examination
  • Publication
  • Registration
What are the types of trademark that can be registered in China?

The following marks or signs are accepted for registration:

  • Words
  • Names
  • Devices
  • Certain 3-dimensional shapes
  • Slogans
  • Colours
  • Sounds
  • Get-up or trade dress
  • Combination of all of the above elements
  • Collective marks
  • Service marks
  • Certification marks
  • Well-known marks
Will there be problems in case I don’t use my trademark after registration?

Yes. A registered mark can be attacked on the ground of non-use.

Are there any benefits from a pre-filing use of the trademark?

The benefits from a pre-filing use are minimal since rights are obtained via registration. However, the applicant can use this to demonstrate the mark’s distinctiveness and overcome oppositions on the ground of non-distinctiveness.

Do I need to sign a Power of Attorney?

Yes. A signed power of attorney is necessary.

If I register my trademark in China, do I have protection in other territories?

No. A registered mark is protected only in Mainland China.

Is there a time frame for filing for a trademark registration?

The average span of time to complete the trademark registration process is 15 months.

How many applications should I file?

The answer to this question depends on the characteristics of your mark, your budget and the scope of protection that you would like to have in China.

If your trademark contains distinctive verbal elements (text) as well as design elements (graphics or logos) and you wish both to be protected, our recommendation is to file two trademark applications; one to protect just the verbal elements (the application will be filed as “Word Mark”) and another to protect just the design elements (the application will be filed as “Combined Mark”).

In this case, proceeding with two trademark applications has the following advantages:

  1. Broader and stronger protection. If a third party files a “Combined Mark” with very similar text to yours but different design, their “Combined Mark” could be accepted for registration if you only filed a “Combined Mark” and not a “Word Mark,” because in its entirety the third party’s mark is still considered different from yours.
  2. You will be protected if your logo evolves. It is common for companies to change the design of their logo with time. If you file a “Combined Mark” and not a “Word Mark,” your new logo will not be protected. You must use your trademark exactly as registered; if you don’t, your trademark may be subject to cancellation.
  3. Effective verbal and graphics protection. Filing a “Word Mark” application provides greater flexibility to use your mark in different ways, whether it is presenting it in stylized text or presenting it with different designs (as long as they are not too similar to registered trademarks that belong to third parties). At the same time, filing a “Combined Mark” allows you to protect the design elements of your mark.

If your trademark also contains a slogan or a distinctive design symbol, we suggest you file a specific application for each, as this will give you additional protection.

Should I register my trademark in Chinese characters?

Yes! Hermes of Paris lost an appeal before the Chinese court for a company registered in China as Ai Ma Shi which is what people in that country call Hermes. Even though the Court understandable upheld the validity of the trademark in its country, there are important considerations we have referred to in other articles about evaluating the strength or, in this case, weakness of a commercial mark. We strongly recommend that you register your trademark in both Latin characters and Chinese characters. If you register in one country, you expose your brand to counterfeiting products in the other country.

Carefully consider the impact of different alphabets too. In this example, you have a choice of registering a trademark in traditional Chinese characters used, for instance, in Macao, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, and a simplified character prevalent in Singapore and the People's Republic of China.

Consider also registering your mark using a more open conceptual or phonetic interpretation, translation, or transliteration that corresponds to your trademark in the foreign language.  One important reason you perform a comprehensive search is because you should expect to encounter issues of semantic meaning across languages, particularly when dialects do not share a common language root.  

Do I need to present periodic statement of use?

Periodic statement of use is not required.

Is China a member of the Madrid System?

China is a member of the Madrid Protocol and the Madrid Agreement.

How long is the opposition period?

The opposition period will start on the publication date.

 

The opposition period will end three months after the publication date.

Are there any rights established by having a registered trademark?

The following rights are established by having a registered trademark:

  • Exclusive right to use the registered mark
  • Right to oppose subsequent conflicting applications
  • Right to bring a cancellation action against subsequent conflicting registrations
  • Right to file an infringement case against third parties for using a confusingly similar mark
  • Right to license third parties to use the registered mark
  • Right to apply for seizure of counterfeit goods bearing the registered mark (these are seized by the customs authorities)
  • Right to receive damages from third parties for infringing the registered mark
Is it possible to cancel a registration?

Yes. The following are grounds for cancellation:

 

  • Descriptive mark
  • Misleading and/or deceptive mark
  • Lack of distinctiveness
  • Generic mark
  • Mark is a geographical indication
  • Functional mark
  • Violation of public policy or principles of morality
  • Unauthorized marks by competent authorities pursuant to Article 6ter of the Paris Convention
  • Inclusion of a badge or emblem of particular public interest
  • Using of the mark in a misleading manner
  • Prohibited marks in this jurisdiction
  • Application was made in bad faith
  • Registrant’s breach of a technical provision of the law
  • Fraudulent registration
  • Use Requirements under Section V.G. are not met
Who can contest my trademark application?

Any interested parties may oppose a trademark application. This includes the owner of an earlier right, a licensee, or anyone.

What are the grounds for a Trademark Application to be opposed?

Yes. A trademark application can be opposed on the following grounds:

  • Proprietary rights
  • Absolute grounds (ex. descriptiveness)
  • Bad faith
  • Breach of copyright
  • Rights of notorious marks
  • Registration in the name of an agent or a representative
  • Rights in a company name
  • Rights in a personal name
  • Rights in a registered design
  • Unauthorized use of protected of insignia or emblems
  • Any reasonable grounds
Is there any need to use my trademark before I apply for registration?

No. Actual use or intent to use is not required.

What is the web address of the trademark national office?

The national trademark office of China is available at http://sbj.saic.gov.cn/

Does having a registered trademark in China give me any right?

Registration is required in order to obtain trademark rights. The “first to file” rule is applicable in China.

When should I renew my trademark?

Trademark renewals are made every 10 years.

What will be the renewal date of my trademark?

The first renewal of the trademark will take place 10 years after the date of registration grant.

Is there any documentation that should be presented when renewing a trademark?

The following documents are necessary for a trademark renewal:

 

  • A copy of the registration certification
  • Power of attorney
  • Incorporation certificate of the registrant
If my trademark expires, do I have a grace period?

Yes. A 6-month grace period is given.

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