How to Conduct a Trade Mark Search in China

shutterstock_81193486-520x345Before even starting to prepare your trade mark registration application in China, it is vital to be sure that an identical or similar trade mark hasn’t been already registered in China. Today’s blog post is a step-by-step guide to how to use the China Trade Mark Office (CTMO) database to conduct preliminary trade mark research yourself.

Every company, no matter how big or small, has some intellectual property (IP). The most common type of IP right is a trade mark. A trade mark is essential to all kinds of companies, whether you are a producer, distributor or service provider, as it allows clients to distinguish you from your competitors and builds the image and reputation of your brand.

International laws, including Chinese laws, grant legal protection to trade marks providing they comply with a few basic requirements: the mark must be distinctive; must not have previously been used by others in the same market; and must not describe the product, e.g. you cannot register ‘apple’ as a trade mark for apples.

Trade marks are territorial in nature and therefore must be registered in every country. A trade mark registered in Spain, for example, is not automatically valid in China. If you want to obtain protection in China you must register with the China Trade Mark Office (CTMO) either by directly filing a domestic application or by filing an international extension through the Madrid System. Continue reading “How to Conduct a Trade Mark Search in China” »