Foreign companies doing business in China should always register their trademarks under Chinese law. Foreign trademark filings aren't always accepted in China, where the 'first-to-file' system is used and someone else can register the trademark and use it legally without the company's knowledge.
Once the trademark is registered, there are additional steps that can be taken to protect your brand, such as trademark license filing and customs recording.
Registering your trademark with the China customs General Administration is an important strategy to prevent others from using your brand without authorization. This can help customs enforcement act against such infringement actions and protect your product.
Every time goods with your trademark clear customs in China, you will receive a written notice from the local customs authorities to confirm whether the products are being sold by the trademark holder (or license holder).
Numerous foreign companies often find that there are exported/imported products from China branded with their trademarks without their authorization. Without a Customs recording, Chinese customs agents will not take any legal actions.
The Customs recording helps Customs authorities identify infringing goods, excluding those from the registrant's suppliers/distributors.
Any unauthorized export or import of the suspected infringing goods may be seized by Customs. Once the registrant is informed by the authorities, it may consider taking appropriate measures to crack down on fake products.
Even if someone 'fakes' your product and trademark, going through this process will provide additional protection by customs and will discourage any copycats. This is extremely helpful for foreign company's of 'hot' new products in China.
In addition to this, a Customs recording will lower the registrant’s economic burden by cutting the amount of bail paid to Customs when actions have been taken against infringing goods.
Customs recording offer several benefits, including the protection of your brand, copycats are deterred from stealing your IP, customs bureaus all over China can be included in the scope of supervision, and fake products are less likely to reach the market and be sold.
In order to record your trademarks with the China customs, you will need:
Scanned copy of your business license
Passport of the legal representative with a scanned copy
Trademark registration certificate
Certificate of trademark transfer and renewal (if possible)
Power of attorney
Product photos with trademark pattern
Basic information of contact person: name, contact number, email, etc.
After you submit the above materials to the General Administration of Customs for their acceptance, the process may take between 2 to 3 months.
It is a must to register your trademarks in China. Once you protect your brand, you can do a license filling and offer your partners a legal way to use your trademark under a paid license, which will protect your business from trademark theft.
Furthermore, recording your trademark with customs will help authorities check the authenticity of any goods bearing your trademark passing through customs and impound anything being traded without your permission.
The cost of these two actions is small compared to the damage that fake products with your brand on them could do to the reputation and future of your business.
To learn more about our services in China, contact our Head of Business Advisory - Ms. Kristina Koehler-Coluccia at email@example.com.
DISCLAIMER: All information in this article is verified to the best of our ability and is assumed to be correct at time of release; however, Woodburn Accountants & Advisors does not accept responsibility for any losses arising from reliance on the information provided within. The information provided is for general guidance and does not replace specialized advice.