1. How long does it take?
When filing trade marks directly through CNIPA, the average timeline of examinations takes five months, which includes both formal and substantive examinations.
The Chinese government has endeavoured to reduce the processing time of trade mark applications, and following CNIPA's work plan in 2020, the review cycle of trade mark examinations will be reduced to four months by the end of the year. This means that the whole application process, including the announcement period, will be reduced to a goal of eight months, dependent upon the expediency of the office at the time.
2. What is the term of validity for my trade mark registration?
Both national trade mark registrations and international trade mark registrations are valid for 10 years.
An applicant needs to apply for a renewal at least six months before the expiration of each 10-year period, and the registration will be renewed for an additional 10 years. For international registrations, a trade mark holder can renew the registration directly with WIPO and it will be effective in all designated territories.
Bear in mind that if a trade mark owner does not use the trade mark for commercial purposes within three consecutive years, they might lose the trade mark due to a third party submitting an application for non-use cancellation.
3. How can I search for trade marks registered in China?
You can search for China registered trade marks on the CNIPA TMO official website. Services you can use on the CNIPA website include:
- Searching for identical or similar trade marks;
- Searching for general information on registered trade marks;
- Checking the status of a trade mark application;
- Searching the TM Gazette.
4. What documents are required for an application?
- A trade mark registration form;
- A copy of the company’s certificate of incorporation;
- For foreign applicants, a certificate of their incorporation and relative evidence should be not arised and certified before submission.
- The company’s name and address in English and Chinese;
- Copies of the trade mark applied for registration;
- Categories of the trade mark applied for registration;
- A trade mark explanation.
- Power of attorney (PoA) if you apply via an agency
For example, when a foreign enterprise with no business offices in China applies for a trade mark registration in China, the foreign enterprise is responsible for appointing a trade mark agency to handle the application.
5. How much does it cost for trade mark registration with CNIPA TMO?
- According to the TMO, the official registration fee for the paper application is RMB 300 per category, which includes 10 products. If a rights owner would like to register more than 10 products in one category, the applicant will be charged RMB 30 per each additional product.
- If a rights owner chooses to apply through the official online application platform, the fee is RMB 270 per category, which includes 10 products. If a rights owner would like to register more than 10 products in one category, there is a charge of RMB 27 per each additional product.
6. What should I do if my trade mark application has been rejected by the TMO?
If an applicant disagrees with a rejection made by the TMO, they may apply to the Trade Mark Review and Adjudication Department (TRAD) for review within 15 days of the rejection notice, with a decision from the Trade Mark Review and Adjudication Board forthcoming within nine months. The fee for this is RMB 750 for the paper application for re-examination, and RMB 675 for the online application of reexamination.
If an applicant disagrees with the decision of the TRAD, a lawsuit can be filed with a People's Court within 30 days from the date documented on the notice.
7. What should I do if my trade mark application has been objected by third parties during the period of the three-month announcement?
If an applicant’s trade mark application has been objected to during the period of announcement, the TMO will make a decision based on the opinions submitted by both sides.
When a decision for non-registration is made by the TMO, an applicant may apply to the TRAD for review of it, and a decision will be made within 12 months. The fee for this is RMB 750 for a paper application for re-examination, while a specific online application process is not available.
A concerned party that disagrees with the decision of the TRAD may file an administrative litigation with the People's Court within 30 days upon receiving the notice.