I’ve want to protect my brand name, logo and short slogan. Think “Nike”, Swoosh and “just do it”. A lawyer I spoke to in the USA said he had a partner in China who could register this for me. He says individuals can’t register on their own, even if that person is Chinese. The US lawyer wants to charge me 10,000 USD to register the each item individually plus any combination of the 3. That makes 7 separate fillings:
Name + Slogan
Logo + Slogan
Name + Logo + Slogan
Do you agree with that?
There are 3 questions in your question. Let’s start with the easy one.
Can individuals, Chinese or Foreign, register IP in China?
It is my understanding that only authorized registration agents are allowed to file applications in China. However, you need not live in China to hire a registration agent. And you need not be Chinese or live in China to be the owner of a Chinese patent and be protected under Chinese law.
Should I register the name/logo/slogan under one application or should I file all 7 combinations?
If you ask 3 lawyers you may get 4 answers. But here is what my Chinese lawyer told me.
You will have ample protection and save a lot of fees if you register them under a single application consisting of an image that has the logo, brand name and slogan together. If a competitor uses any part or combination of the part, they will be in violation of the law.
Is 10,000 USD a fair price?
In my experience, that sounds excessive. Expect a lot less (a few 1000 USD or less at time of writing) if you engage an English speaking lawyer in China to register your trademark in English and Chinese. That fee includes the lawyer plus translations plus government fees and express mailing of documents. Other IP like utility patents are more complex and the fees reflect that. I’m on the board of advisors at AsiaBridge Law in Guangzhou and they make their fee structure public on their website.
For your reference, here are the steps that my Chinese lawyer goes through when registering my trademarks.
- Translate the brand name and slogan per client’s notes
- Search the government database to confirm if the trademark in both languages has not been taken
- Choose a suitable font for the Chinese text and send it to the Client for Client to add it to the logo and make a single file.
- Select appropriate product category and up to 10 classifications.
- Submit the application on Client’s behalf
- Follow up the application and update Client of the process.
Time Frame. The total procedure depends on the project scope and national holidays, and depending on how smooth the project goes, it can take from 11 to 24 months from the time the application is submitted to the point where the IP is protected. The average time is around 16 months.
- Trademark acceptance notice will be issued about two months from the submission of application and a public announcement of the trademark will be made.
- If no objections are received during a 6 month period, official license will be issued about three months later.
Question answered by Mike Bellamy.
Advisory Board Member & Featured Blogger at the not-for-profit China Sourcing Information Center (www.ChinaSourcingInfo.org). Author of “The Essential Reference Guide to China Sourcing” and founder of PassageMaker Sourcing Solutions.