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Brand Protection in China: Tips for Foreign Businesses

Updated:2018-11-13 10:22:48    Source:www.tannet-group.comViews:407

Brand protection in China is important for foreign businesses. The country is also trying hard to improve the intellectual property awareness in recent years. Brand awareness relates to the effect that a brand has on people’s minds. What this means is that a customer can connect the name, the logo, the slogan, and/ or other attributes to one specific product or company. Penetrating the Chinese market successfully means businesses have been able to distinguish their products from substitutes in the market.

How to Protect Your Brand in China?
Intangible assets, for example, patents, copyrights, franchises, goodwill, company or product identity, are becoming increasingly important for the economic development of enterprises. Among these assets, brand management plays a leading role in strengthening the company’s competitiveness. Successfully promoting a brand communicates to the uniqueness, target reach, and exclusivity of the business or product, thereby impacting its reputation in the market.

Business leaders need to identify the right strategies to protect their trademark in China before entering the Chinese market. Down to the earth, the brand name is actually the trademark. To protect your brand, you should file an application for trademark registration with China Trademark Office (CTMO). The following are some tips for foreign businesses.

1. Early Registration
China uses a first-to-file system for trademark registration, which means that the party who files for registration first gets the trademark. Due to the first-to-file system, the outcome of any trademark dispute primarily hinges on who registered it first in China. Hence, firms anticipating expansion into China should apply for registration at the earliest, particularly as the registration may take considerable time in some cases.

2. Multi-category Application
Companies should register under as many categories and sub-categories as financially feasible. Since many foreign firms successfully register their trademarks in China before trademark squatters, but they sometimes encounter problems when expanding their products and services. After registering, firms should regularly monitor the trademark register for potential squatting or infringement.

3. Use Translation other than Transliteration
Foreign enterprises often use Chinese transliterations of their original brand name to localize their product to China. In such cases, registering the English name alone is not sufficient and foreign firms must also register their trademarks under the appropriate Chinese transliteration. Direct Chinese transliterations may not make sense, and the words need to be tweaked to make sense to consumers.

Foreign firms operating in China should ideally invest in finding the right brand name to register their trademark by using a strategic combination of literal translation, phonetic transliteration, and descriptive adaptations. It is definitely advisable to engage the assistance of bilingual experts for this work.

Tannet Intellectual Property Service Center and Hign-end Brand Marketing Center are specialized in brand promotion and the related marketing solutions. We can first help you register a trademark, both domestic and overseas, and then assist you in making branding strategy to expand popularity.

Contact Us
If you have further queries, don’t hesitate to contact Tannet anytime, anywhere by simply visiting Tannet’s website, or calling Hong Kong hotline at 852-27826888 or China hotline at 86-755-82143512 or 86-755-82143181 or emailing to You are also welcome to visit our office situated in 16/F, Taiyangdao Bldg 2020, Dongmen Rd South, Luohu, Shenzhen, China.

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