Protecting trade marks in China
Produced in partnership with Laura Rose and Louisa Dixon of Taylor Vinters
Protecting trade marks in China

The following IP guidance note Produced in partnership with Laura Rose and Louisa Dixon of Taylor Vinters provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Protecting trade marks in China
  • Introduction
  • Registering your trade mark
  • Tackling bad faith registrations
  • Enforcing your rights
  • Conclusion


Protecting a trade mark in China ensures that a business can establish a brand and reputation in the world’s second largest economy. This helps a business to generate new customers and to make sure that no one else uses their name to sell their goods or services.

China operates a ‘first-to-file’ system. This means that the first business to file their trade mark application is entitled to register that trade mark. Practically speaking this means that a business may lose legal protection if an identical or similar trade mark has already been registered in China. As a result it is vital that a business registers their trade mark in China at the earliest available opportunity. Chinese law does provide grounds for opposing a trade mark application or invalidating a registered trade mark. However, being the first to file is always the cheapest and most efficient way to secure a trade mark.

It is possible to enforce trade mark rights without registration in China through unfair competition law. However, this can be a less effective means of enforcement when compared with having a registered trade mark right.

Registering your trade mark

National and international registration systems

A trade mark can be registered in one of two ways in China, namely through either the ‘national’ or ‘international’ system.

National registration system