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Filing a trademark in China: choose your sign well!

It should be remembered that it is important to place a trademark in China as soon as possible, as it is not uncommon for private individuals to deposit trademarks on their own behalf, which they know are beginning to be used in Europe. Once these trademarks have filed these trademarks, these trademarks can block future requests from Western companies and constitute a real problem in the case of imminent export projects!

When a company wishes to file its word mark in China (mainland, Hong Kong is not included), the most recurring question remains the interest of depositing also the transliteration of the mark in Chinese characters.

The answer to this question depends in the first place on the actual use of this sign in Chinese characters in China.

If you do not intend to use the "ideograms" version of your brand, then it is not advisable to file because you will have a wider protection of your mark in Latin characters by not depositing its transliteration in Chinese characters.

Indeed, any transliteration exploited or filed by a third party, and confusing with your trademark in Latin characters because of their pronunciation, could be considered as counterfeiting

If you intend to use the "ideograms" version of your trademark, then it is necessary to file the transliteration chosen to protect it, but the protection will then apply only to the version that has been filed.

Filing a trademark in China: well exploiting its sign!

As in most countries, including France, trademarks are subject to an obligation to use in China. However, the time limit for using a trademark is particularly short, as it is 3 years after the registration date instead of 5 years in most countries.

What happens after three years if you do not operate your brand in China? Nothing, unless a third party decides otherwise.

Indeed, actions for revocation for lack of use in China and intended to cancel an unused trademark are administrative and non-judicial actions, which third parties can easily implement.

It should be noted, however, that the burden of proof is reversed: it is for the plaintiff in the action to prove that the earlier mark was not seriously used in China during the three years preceding the filing of the application. Nevertheless, since the evidence available to the applicant for revocation is fairly broad, it is generally easy to obtain the forfeiture of a trade mark registration which is not used.
This article is illustrated with a work for which we received the kind permission of Mrs. JJ DALIBARD,,
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