Does Your Brand Need to Register a Chinese Trademark to Do Business in China?

A Guide to Help You Decide Whether Registering a Chinese Trademark Is Right for Your Business in China.

by Azoya

When a brand lacks a trademark in China, the following situations can affect its ability to operate in the Chinese market:

1. The brand's international trademark is not certified through the Madrid Protocol, making it unable to secure protection in the Chinese market.

2. The brand's trademark may be registered by Chinese companies, leading to increased costs for repurchasing or filing appeals as the business expands.

3. Some e-commerce and marketing platforms may require brands to register a trademark in China to conduct business.

How can you address these situations?

1. For cross-border e-commerce, multi-brand retailers may not necessarily require a Chinese trademark. Most cross-border e-commerce platforms only request overseas retailers to provide registered Class 35 trademarks (and retail venue trademarks).

2. To ensure the sustainability of your business, brands are usually advised to register a trademark in China. It's crucial to have the trademark in your possession before launching any marketing efforts to prevent its misuse.

3. Brands can register their trademarks in China through an attorney or specialized intermediaries. We recommend prioritizing Madrid Protocol trademark registration to cover the Chinese market. If your brand has already been preemptively registered in China before entering the Madrid System, consulting professional service providers is recommended. Some brands may face difficulties in the registration process, especially if their brand name contains specific descriptive words. In such cases, professional agencies can provide solutions.

4. Before engaging with Chinese agencies or business entities, we also recommend that brands sign non-disclosure agreements or proactively protect their trademark. This precaution can prevent unscrupulous individuals from taking advantage of your brand.

How much does it cost to solve the problems mentioned above?

1. If a Chinese trademark has been preemptively registered, the brand may face substantial costs. In many cases, the other party will request an unaffordable price.

2. If the cost of repurchasing the trademark becomes untenable, we recommend pursuing legal avenues or appeals to regain control of your trademark.

3. Regardless, we strongly advise brands to secure trademark protection in the Chinese market as early as possible, even if China is not their immediate priority.

Other tips:

1. Once a brand obtains a trademark, it is essential to ensure some minimum operational activities and product circulation in the market. Failure to do so may increase the risk of the trademark being subject to further appeals and potentially lost.

2. Brands may need a Chinese-language trademark in the future. However, for cross-border business operations, this step is typically unnecessary. If your products are intended for sale in offline markets via general trade, we recommend registering a Chinese-language trademark for its efficiency in building brand recognition and promotion.

China trademark Madrid Procotol

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