Applications for trademark registration are handled in accordance with China's Trademark Law and the Implementing Regulations of the Trademark Law.
The Trademark Office under the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) is the government authority for the registration of trademarks in China. The Trademark Management Office under SAIC is the administrative arm responsible for managing all trademark-related matters, while Trademark Affairs Offices set up in various major cities are trademark agents designated by the state and under the supervision of SAIC. The Trademark Review and Adjudication Board, also under SAIC, is responsible for handling disputes related to trademarks. Provincial-level administration offices for industry and commerce handle matters concerning trademarks under their jurisdiction, such as protecting the exclusive right to use registered trademarks and investigating acts of trademark infringement.
Any foreigner or foreign enterprise intending to apply for trademark registration in China should file an application in accordance with relevant agreements concluded between the country to which the applicant belongs and China, or according to relevant international treaties to which both countries are parties, or on the basis of the principle of reciprocity.
Foreign-invested enterprises (FIEs) may apply for trademark registration in China either directly or through trademark agents. Foreign enterprises wishing to do the same should appoint agents designated by the state to handle trademark registration for foreign parties.
In applying for trademark registration, the class and description of the goods should be put in the application form according to the prescribed classification system. Currently, China adopts the International Classification System, which classifies goods and services into 34 categories and eight categories respectively.
Where an applicant intends to register the same trademark for goods in different classes, a separate application for registration should be filed in respect of each class of the prescribed classification of goods.
Where a registered trademark is to be used in respect of other goods of the same class, a new application for registration should be filed.
Where any design of a registered trademark is to be altered, a new registration should be applied for.
Where, after the registration of a trademark, the name, address or other matters concerning the registrant change, an application regarding the change should be filed.
A geographical indication may be the subject of an application for registration as a certification mark and a collective mark.
Procedures for Trademark registration and required documents
In applying for trademark registration, the following documents should be submitted to the relevant authorities: Application for Trademark Registration, power of attorney, five copies of the reproductions of the trademark (if colour is claimed, five copies of the colour reproductions of the trademark), and one copy of the black and white design thereof. The reproductions of the trademark must be clear and easy to be pasted up and should be printed on smooth and clear durable paper or substituted by photographs, the length and width of which should be less than 10 cm but more than 5 cm each.
When a foreigner or foreign enterprise applies for trademark registration, the Chinese language should be used (any document in a foreign language should be accompanied by a Chinese translation).
Where trademark registration is applied for a three-dimensional mark, the applicant should state the same in the application and submit reproductions enabling determination of the three-dimensional shape.
Where trademark registration is applied for a colour combination, the applicant should state the same in the application and submit a text description.
When applying for registration of a collective mark or certification mark, the applicant should state the same in the application and submit a certificate of qualification as subject and the rules for administration of the use of the mark.
Applications for trademark registration will undergo examination as to form and examination as to substance by the Trademark Office in accordance with the Trademark Law. Where an application has passed the examination both in form and in substance, preliminary approval will be granted and the trademark will be published.
Any person may, within three months from the date of publication of the trademark, file an opposition against the trademark that has been granted preliminary approval. The Trademark Office will send the Application for Trademark Opposition to the opposed party for a response to be made within 30 days as from the receipt of notification. The Trademark Office will then make an adjudication based on the facts and grounds presented by both parties.
Where no opposition has been filed against a trademark or the opposition is not justified, approval will be granted for the trademark to be registered. A certificate of registration will be issued and the trademark will be published. Where the opposition is justified, registration will be refused.
If the registration of an opposed trademark has been published before the ruling on the opposition becomes effective, the original publication will be revoked and the trademark whose registration is approved in the adjudication on the opposition will be published anew.