Registering trademarks internationally is a smart move and whether you are currently selling overseas (or open to the possibility), getting protection for your brand is essential.

Consider starting 5 years in advance of your plans to start selling overseas because:
Unlike registering a trademark in the South Africa (or the United States), registering a trademark in China holds the following distinctions.

  • China is a First to File country
    (whomever first FILES a particular trademark gets the rights)
  • South Africa is a First in Time, First in Right country.
    (whomever first USES a particular trademark gets the rights)

Under current Chinese law, a company can register your trademark even if you are already using it. That company can then stop your product from entering or leaving China by claiming trademark infringement.

Trademark Registration in China

What Types of Trademarks can be registered in China?
Words, Designs, Numerals, Letters of the alphabet, Combinations of colors, and Three-dimensional symbols. Avoid using the names of Cities, Countries and Chinese presidents.

Registration Notes:
Sign all forms, before submitting to CTO.
A formality check is conducted by the SAIC.
(State Administration of Industry & Commerce of the People’s Republic of China).
A notice of first approval is delivered by the SAIC.
A substantive examination of your chosen candidate is conducted.
The CTO formally approves and publishes the trademark.
You receive the approval certificate by postal mail.

Approximate Registration Time Table:
9 – 24 months

Multiple-Class Applications:
According to recent amendments to the Chinese Trademark Law that entered into force on May 1, 2014, multiple-class applications are possible in China. Please note that these are more expensive and more likely to ensue delays and oppositions.

(Filing multiple-class within one application is cheaper than the sum of one-class per application, however it has the advantage of getting the mark valid sooner than having all the classes within one application which might be partially rejected.)

Minimum Filing Requirements:
Representation of the trademark.
A list of goods and services.
The applicant (s) details.
Signed Power of Attorney (The copy of the form should be provided simultaneously with the filing of the application in China).

China Trademark Duration:
Trademarks in China are valid for 10 years from the date of registration.
Requests to renew must be filed within 6 months prior dates of expiration.
The Chinese government allows a grace period of 6 months.
Trademarks may be renewed for 10-year-periods (with a signed POA).

Your trademark may be subject to cancellation if it has NOT been used within the continuous period of 3 years from the date of registration.

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