Are you doing business in China?  If so, you may want to consider registering your name or brand as a trade mark to protect it. Trade marks are country based, so you only have protection in countries where you have a registered trade mark.

It may be surprising to some, but there are many similarities between trade marks law in Australia and in China with many of the fundamental principles being the same. In both countries your trade mark registration gives you an exclusive right (a monopoly) to use the registered mark in association with particular goods and/or services.

The trade mark application process in China also has many similarities to Australia. The first stage is the submission of your trade mark application to the Chinese government who then review it in relation to various grounds. If deemed acceptable (or if any objections are overcome) the mark is then advertised after which time if there are no oppositions it will be officially registered. The entire process takes around 18 months.

The main difference, and an important one from a practical perspective, between Australia and China is that China has a “first to file” based system such that the first person to file for the trade mark registration is the one who is entitled. Thus, it is very important to seek registration in China sooner rather than later.

McIntosh IP has associates in China who we work in conjunction with in relation to trade marks in China.

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