Registering a trademark in China involves conducting a trademark search, preparing and submitting the application, undergoing formal and substantive examinations, publication and opposition period, and finally receiving the trademark certificate. The entire process typically takes 12-24 months and costs vary depending on the specifics of your application. For more information and assistance, consult the CNIPA's website (http://www.cnipa.gov.cn/en/) or hire a local attorney or agent specializing in intellectual property.
Conduct a Trademark Search
Before starting the registration process, it is crucial to ensure that your desired trademark does not infringe on existing trademarks. You can perform a search using the database provided by the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) at http://www.cnipa.gov.cn/. If you need assistance, you can hire a local attorney or agent specializing in intellectual property.
Prepare and Submit the Application
After confirming that your desired trademark is unique, you need to fill out the application form. The form can be downloaded from the CNIPA's website (http://www.cnipa.gov.cn/en/). Your application should include:
- Name and address of the applicant
- A clear representation of the trademark
- A list of goods and services for which the trademark will be used, classified according to the Nice Classification
- Submit the completed application, along with the required fees, to the CNIPA in person, by mail, or electronically. The CNIPA's website provides details on current fees (http://www.cnipa.gov.cn/en/).
Upon receiving your application, the CNIPA will conduct a formal examination to ensure all requirements are met. If any deficiencies are found, you will receive a notification and be given a deadline to correct them. This stage typically takes 1-3 months.
After passing the formal examination, your application will undergo a substantive examination to determine whether your trademark meets registration requirements. This process usually takes 6-9 months.
Publication of the Trademark Application
Once your application passes the substantive examination, it will be published in the China Trademark Gazette. This publication initiates a three-month opposition period, during which third parties can file objections against your application.
Registration and Issuance of the Trademark Certificate
If no opposition is filed, or if any opposition is successfully resolved, the CNIPA will register your trademark and issue a certificate of registration. This step usually takes 1-2 months from the end of the opposition period.
Renewal and Maintenance
Chinese trademarks are valid for ten years from the date of registration and can be renewed indefinitely for successive ten-year periods. Renewal applications must be filed within six months before the expiration date or during a six-month grace period following the expiration date, with additional fees for late renewals.