Trademarks and service marks are words, names, symbols, or devices used by manufacturers of goods and providers of services to identify their goods and services, and to distinguish their goods and services from goods manufactured and sold by others. Some of the most famous examples of trademarking are: BIOMAGIC® for medicine, Apple® for computers, and the FLYCO® for electric appliances.
Important Issues for Trademark Design:
Those identical with or similar to the national name, national flag, national emblem, military flag or medals of the People’s Republic of China, as well as those identical with the names of the specific sites or the names and designs of the symbol buildings at the places where the central government agencies are located
Those identical with or similar to the national name, national flag, national emblem or military flag of any foreign country, except with the consent of the government of that country
Those identical with or similar to the official marks or inspection marks that indicate the control or guarantee, except with authorization
Those identical with or similar to the name, flag, or emblem of any inter-governmental international organization, except with the consent of that organization and those unlikely to mislead the public
Those identical with or similar to the name or symbol of the Red Cross or the Red Crescent
Those having the nature of discrimination against any nationality
Those constituting exaggerated advertising and are deceitful
Those detrimental to socialism morality or custom, or having other harmful influences; and
The place names of the administrative districts at the level of county or above or the foreign place names known by the public shall not be used as Trademark, provided that the place names do not have other meanings or are not integral parts of a collective mark or certification mark. Trademark that have already been registered with place names shall remain valid.
Rules for China Trademark Application:
Where two or more applicants apply for registration of identical or similar Trademark for the same or similar merchandises, the trademark will be given to which preliminary approval, after examination, is obtained and to which the announcement of the application therefor is made first. Where applications are filed on the same day, the trademark will be given to which preliminary approval, after examination, and to which the announcement of the use thereof is made first. The dismissal of the applications of the Trademark by others will not be announced.
Any person may, within 3 months from the date of the announcement, file an opposition against the trademark that has, after examination, been preliminarily approved. If no opposition has been filed after the expiration of the announcement period, the registration will be approved and the trademark will be issued a certificate of trademark registration and announced. Where an application for trademark registration is dismissed and the trademark will not be announced, the Trademark Office will notify the trademark registration applicant in writing.
If the trademark registration applicant refuses to accept the dismissal, he may apply to the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board for review within 15 days from the day on which the notification is received, and the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board will decide and notify the applicant in writing.
The Right of Priority of China Trademark Registration:
Where an applicant applies for registration in China of the same trademark for the same merchandises within 6 months from the day on which it first filed an application for registration of the same in a foreign country, he may enjoy the right of priority in accordance with any agreement entered into between that foreign country and China or any international treaty to which both countries are parties, or according to the principle of mutual acknowledgement of the right of priority.
Where a trademark is used for the first time on the merchandises displayed at any international exhibition sponsored or acknowledged by the Chinese Government, the applicant applying for registration of that trademark may enjoy the right of priority within 6 months from the day on which the said merchandises are displayed.
Any applicant requesting for the right of priority shall file a written declaration when submitting its application for trademark registration, and shall provide copies of the application documents submitted when it first filed the registration application for the trademark or the name of the exhibition at which its merchandises are displayed, the evidence proving that the said trademark is used on the displayed merchandises and supporting documents for the date of exhibition within 3 months; the applicants who fail to file written declarations or provide copies of the application documents for trademark registration within the prescribed time limit shall be regarded as not having request for the right of priority.