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What Does China's Trademark Law Say?

Sun, 08 Mar 2020
Categories: Insights



How long does it take to register a trademark in China? The answer is 9 months for preliminary examination, plus 3 months for the opposition period. 

The PRC Trademark Law was enacted in 1982 and was amended respectively in 1993, 2001, 2013 and 2019.

The Trademark Law consists of 73 articles, covering matters such as the types of mark eligible for trademark; the formalities for the applicant to apply for the trademark registration; the process for the Trademark Office to review and approve the trademark filings; the procedures of the renewal, changes, transfer and licensing of a trademark; the scope of trademarks which will be declared invalid; the formalities for the right holder to properly use its trademark; and the protection for such registered trademarks.

The Trademark Office of the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR), which is subordinate to the State Council, the Central Government of China, is in charge of all the trademarks registration and management in China, while the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board under the Trademark Office is responsible for trademark disputes settlement.

In China, words, graphics, letters, numerals, three-dimensional symbols, combinations of colors and sounds, as well as combinations thereof, can be applied for trademark registration.

When a foreigner or foreign enterprise applies for trademark registration and deals with other matters relating to trademarks in China, he/she shall entrust a trademark agency established in China to handle such matters.

How long does it take to register a trademark in China? 

First of all, the Trademark Office shall examine the materials within nine(9) months as of the date of receiving the application documents for trademark registration. If the application is in conformity to the PRC Trademark Law, the Trademark Office will issue an announcement about its preliminary examination and approval; secondly, if the Trademark Office does not receive any opposition within three(3) months from the date of publication of the said announcement, the Trademark Office will approve the registration and issue a registered trademark certificate to the applicant.

In China, the effective term of a registered trademark is ten years, starting from the date of approving such registration. Upon the expiry of the effective term, the trademark right holder may apply for renewal.

If the registered trademark holder finds that someone has infringed its registered trademark, the right holder may negotiate with the infringer for settlement; if the two parties are unwilling to negotiate or the negotiation fails, the right holder may file a lawsuit, or request the Market Regulation Bureau of the local government for settlement.

In a lawsuit, the amount of damages payable by the infringer to the right holder shall be determined in accordance with the actual losses suffered by the right holder arising from the infringement. In order to determine the amount of damages, the people's court may order the infringer to provide relevant evidence.


Photo by Joshua Forbes( on Unsplash


Contributors: China Laws Portal Team

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