Understanding the general timeline for trademark registration in China is an important part of developing your international trademark plan. The average timeframe for basic trademark proceedings is:
- Basic application – 6-9 months
- Oppositions – 12-18 months
- Renewals – 1 month
One of the most critical steps to registration in China is to start the process as soon as possible, to both utilize your U.S. priority date and to keep bad faith registrants from intentionally registering your mark (read our tips on fighting bad faith registrations in China). Keep in mind, China has one of the busiest trademark offices in the world, which can slow the process to register significantly.
Start Chinese Trademark Registration as Soon as Possible
China is a first-to-file country, which means that trademark protections are typically granted to the first business or individual to file a trademark application. This benefits new businesses that may not be able to show the trademark in use at the time of registration, but it also ushers in bad faith registrations. Unfortunately, it’s common practice for these bad faith registrants to knowingly file someone else’s trademark, with the intent to sell counterfeit goods under the mark or even ransom the mark to its rightful owner at a much higher price. For this reason, it is important to begin the Chinese trademark registration as soon as possible.
File your Chinese trademark registration within six months of submitting your home country’s trademark application. This allows you to use your original priority date on your Chinese trademark application. Anyone looking to register a similar mark after that date may not be granted trademark ownership. There is very little recourse against bad faith registrations, but the best defense against this practice is to simply be the first to register your mark in China.