[This guest post has been kindly contributed by European small business and China IPR SME Helpdesk user, English Trackers]
In this world of instant gratification, it takes two years to get your registration certificate. That’s pretty long.
As a comparison, it only took me three months to get my Wholly Owned Foreign Enterprise (WOFE) licence (back in 2008).
When I set up my business – an English editing and proofreading firm – I envisaged the exit. I know you’re not meant to focus on the exit when you’re just starting out, but I found it helped me to build everything tidily and I imagined one day passing the whole bundle (holding company, WOFE, brands, domain names etc.) to an acquirer. [Dream on Bridget!]
I had a miniscule budget but I had been exposed to business in China – and in particular IPR – while working my first four years in Beijing for a foreign law firm.
My meagre funds did not stretch to an agent so I set up my WOFE with the help of a legal assistant who happened to quit the law firm on the same day as me.
As soon as I had my licence, I started procedures to register my trade mark. Again, lack of funds meant I did the job myself, and I found a local trade mark agent via a Chinese friend. Cost of registration in one class – 2,000 RMB (approx. 240 EUR).
It would probably be a good sign if someone was trying to steal my editing website and my logo, but so far no illegal copies of my site have sprung up on the web. Until the other day, I felt I had merely taken the obvious measures to protect my brand in China, but then suddenly we were asked to produce our brand registration certificate.
So now I know of one very useful reason to register your brand in China. If you want to verify your Sina Weibo account (Chinese equivalent of Twitter), which is definitely worth doing if you want to grow your fan base, you’ll want to use your logo in place of a photo on your account. To do that, you need to prove you own the brand.
One other quirky little piece of advice – if you haven’t set up your WOFE yet and therefore haven’t defined your business scope in your articles of association, it might be a good idea to check out the activities in the class in which you’re likely to register your brand. I mean, if I’d known my class (41) allowed me to use my brand to open a library or a studio providing (naked) models for artists, or – and this is the best one – a zoo, I might well have included these activities in my scope of business!
“Go register your brand!”, I say. Two years is a long wait but there’s a lot you can be building for that brand in the meantime.
So what is this brand Bridget Rooth has been building? To take a look, visit English Trackers’ English editing and proofreading site.
Bridget and her team regularly blog about English at Blogging Good English.