Building a strong brand is about the right kind of marketing, but equally to protect the brand in the countries where it will be used. Spend big amounts on marketing a brand without having the right to it can unfortunately result in costly problems. In recent years, we have seen a significant increase in Western brands being hijacked, especially in China. Our partner Otmore conducted a test of twenty relatively newly established Western fashion brands to see how many people were subjected to hijacking in China. Five of these had chosen to apply for a Chinese trademark protection at an early stage. Eleven (!) of the trademarks had been registered by another party, which means: been hijacked.
In China, they go according to the rule “first come, first served”, the one who first registers a trademark is entitled to it and it is a difficult process to show that they registered the trademark in bad faith.
Are you planning to place your production in China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea or Vietnam?
Thousands of goods that are being exported from China are caught by Chinese customs annually when they are considered to be fake. Many of these goods are found to infringe trademarks registered with the Chinese Trademark Authority and the Chinese Customs. Companies that have their production coated in, for example, China, but who do not have Chinese registration for their trademark, may risk getting their goods stuffed by Chinese customs. This because they can be classified as counterfeit trademarks as other parties own the right to. To prove your innocent in this situation is, in principle, impossible if you do not have a trademark registration in the manufacturing country.
In order to avoid the above mentioned problems, it is important to apply for trademark registration in the countries where the brand will be used and where production is located at an early stage.
When applying for trademark registration in China, there is much to consider, we recommend that the application be made in the following steps:
- Register your brand name as domain name in China (brandname.cn, brandname.com.cn, brandname (in Chinese letters). 网址)
- Trademark names in roman letters with official spelling
- Trademark name in Chinese characters
- Brand Name translated to Chinese in Latin
- Apply for registration for your logo
- Register your trademark with the Chinese Customs