How to Protect your Trade Mark in South-East Asia

trademarkWith the arrival of the new year, many SMEs are planning to start new business endeavors in the lucrative markets of South-East Asia. However, with all this new year’s enthusiasm, it is very easy to forget that counterfeiting and other IP violations are still commonplace in South-East Asia. Thus, it is very important to have a robust IP strategy in place when entering the promising markets of South-East Asia. In today’s blog post, we are, therefore, taking a closer look at trade mark protection in South-East Asia, focusing on trade mark registration, protection and enforcement. 

Generally speaking, a trade mark is a sign which serves on the market to distinguish the goods and services of one undertaking from others, and over which the owner has an exclusive right. Trade marks are words, logos, devices or other distinctive features which can be represented graphically. In some South-East Asia countries, such as Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand, they may also consist of the shape of goods or their packaging in three-dimensional form. As of now, Singapore is the only South-East Asian country to recognize trade marks based on sound.

Trade marks are an essential part of the identity of goods and services. They help deliver brand recognition, i.e. they distinguish your company from the competition. They also help to build trust, reputation and goodwill for your company as well as play an important role in marketing and advertising. A trade mark can become an important asset with significant monetary value for a company and should, thus, be protected. Continue reading “How to Protect your Trade Mark in South-East Asia” »

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” »