#1 Trademark protection in China by Confidus Solutions 27.10.2022 16:53

The Chinese market is huge and evolving, so there are many benefits to registering your trademark in the registers of the Trademark Office of the State Administration of Industry and Commerce of the People's Republic of China (SAIC).

Since the entry into force of the TRIPs agreement, the legislation on registration and protection of trademarks in China has become more and more similar to that in Europe. Nevertheless, the process was gradual and not yet complete, as the TRIPs agreement provided only basic rules that could be implemented by the states, dividing the agreement in the long term according to their legal situation. Companies that do not promptly register their trademark in China face many problems when trying to fight counterfeiting of their products in order to obtain trademark protection in China.

If you don't register on time, there is a big risk that your brand has already been “copied” and registered by a local company in China before you start your expansion in the Chinese market.

In fact, unlike courts in Europe and the United States, Chinese courts can completely reject the global practice of granting protection to unregistered trademarks of well-known companies. For example, in 1996, a Chinese apparel company registered a graphic of a horse identical to Ferrari's. The Chinese Trademark Office rejected Ferrari's objection to the registration on the grounds that the Chinese company had applied for registration of the graphic first (first-to-file principle). Ferrari appealed the decision, arguing that the symbol was recognizable as the symbol of the Ferrari brand around the world, including China. In 2007, after 11 years of litigation, the Beijing First Intermediate Court ruled that Ferrari's horse graphic was not a famous brand among Chinese consumers and deserved no legal protection, although the "Ferrari" name was.

In the near future, the situation may change due to the development of Chinese technology and trade, which will make Chinese companies interested in trademark protection as well as European and American companies, which could make the competition even fiercer.

Considering that the mere use of the trademark without registration is legally irrelevant, you should act before starting your commercial activities. This is also important because the effects of legal protection in China come into effect from the moment of registration and not just from the moment of filing, and the usual time to obtain a registration is around 2-4 years.

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