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How to increase your chances of trademark approval in China

Trademark registration in China has become essential for any brand involved in exporting to or sourcing from China. It not only protects the intellectual property of businesses but is also a mandatory requirement imposed by China's major e-commerce platforms and retailers for imported products. However, with over 40 million registered trademarks in China, there is a high likelihood of trademark applications being rejected due to similarity or identity with existing trademarks. It is crucial to assess the potential for approval and take proactive measures.

To increase the chances of trademark approval in China, consider the following tips:

  1. Select a suitable brand name from day one: Avoid brand names that may be rejected for legal reasons in China and some other countries. These include names similar to the country name, national flag, national emblem, military flag. Additionally, avoid names similar to specific locations of central state organs or names/patterns of landmark buildings. Similarly, stay away from names resembling foreign country names, national flags, national emblems, and military flags unless approved by the respective government. Names resembling intergovernmental international organizations or official marks and inspection marks indicating control and guarantee implementation should also be avoided, unless authorized. Lastly, do not use names or logos promoting ethnic discrimination, or names that are exaggerated, deceptive, or harmful to socialist morality, nor use generic terms of products or services as a brand name.

  2. Check trademark availability: Before proceeding with a brand name, verify its availability with the Chinese National Intellectual Property Bureau. Check for any similar or identical trademarks already registered under the class you intend to register for. If such trademarks exist, it is highly likely your application will be rejected. China follows a "first-file, first-get" system, making it essential to register your trademark in China at the earliest, even if your plans to trade with China are scheduled for the future.

  3. Develop sub-brands and a Chinese brand name: If your current brand name cannot be registered due to the aforementioned reasons or if your trademark application has been rejected by the China National Intellectual Property Bureau, consider developing a sub-brand and/or a Chinese brandname. Register this sub-brand and your Chinese brand as a trademark in China. When you conduct marketing, associate them with your existing brand to leverage the track record of your business, facilitating easier market entry.

  4. Reclaim "hijacked" brand names: If someone else has registered your trademark in China, and you possess evidence that they did so in bad faith or have not used the trademark for a certain period, you may oppose or request the cancellation of that trademark registration. Specific conditions and requirements apply in such cases, and seeking expertise in handling these oppositions and cancellations is critical to success.

For more details or assistance with trademark registration or handle trademark issues in China, please contact our service team at


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