The Cost to Register a Trademark in China

Obtaining a Chinese trademark registration is a critical part of doing business outside the U.S.  Valuable protection against counterfeiting and infringement can be gained for very little upfront cost.  Typically, the cost to register a trademark in China is $1,200 in legal fees for applications in one class. Chinese government fees are $50 per class.

Trademark Registration Costs

Each trademark application process is unique, so overall costs may vary, based on your trademark needs.  However, the cost of a basic trademark registration in China is as follows:

  • $1,200 in legal fees for a basic application, covering 1 international classes
  • $50 per class for government fees

Keep in mind that these are the costs for a single trademark, covering one to two international classes.  Most businesses, however, will likely need multiple trademarks to protect their brands in China.  For instance, your business name, product name, logo, and slogan would all need separate Chinese trademark registrations.

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The process to register a trademark in China can be challenging and confusing.  A quick Google search will return several sites purporting to be the Chinese Trademark Office or to work in conjunction with the Chinese Trademark Office, but they likely do not.  While you may be tempted to file your Chinese trademark application without legal help, in an effort to save money, you may find that this could cost you more time and money in the long run.  To ensure that the trademark registration process runs smoothly, consider working with an experienced trademark attorney.

One point to consider when preparing your Chinese trademark application is how your business or product name could be translated in China.  There are several ways to go about this, whether you wish to choose Chinese characters that most closely match the sound of your English business name, or perhaps you plan to translate the meaning of your business name as best as possible.  Either way, you will likely need a Chinese language expert to assist you with the process.  Most U.S. trademark attorneys, including Gerben IP, have relationships with trusted attorneys and experts in China, to ensure that your trademark application is well represented, from start to finish.

The Cost of Not Registering in China

Unlike the United States, which is a first-to-use country, China typically gives trademark rights to the first business or individual to file a trademark registration.  Unfortunately, this first-to-file status has allowed for a significant number of bad faith registrations.  These occur when a business or individual register someone else’s trademark with the intent to profit from the mark, either by selling their own products under the trademark or by ransoming the mark to its rightful owner at a much higher price.  If you wait to register your trademark in China, you may later find that it has been registered in bad faith.  At that point, your options are extremely limited.  You can either file an opposition and wait out the lengthy process, or you can pay the ransom on your mark.  The best defense against bad faith registration is to be the first to register your trademark in China.

The sale of counterfeit goods is a trillion-dollar industry worldwide, but most of these imitation products are being produced in China.  If counterfeit goods are offered under your trademark, the costs to your business could be significant.  Customers may be confused, choosing the counterfeit products over yours, which could lead to lost revenue.  Assuming the quality of the counterfeit goods is inferior, you could also suffer damage to your business’s reputation.  As the owner of a registered trademark in China, you would have a legal right to take action against infringers and counterfeiters.  You will also be able to register your mark with Chinese Customs.  If they find counterfeit products at the border, they will seize the goods and contact you to take further action.  This not only protects you from counterfeit goods sold in China, but also around the world, where goods may be shipped. Learn about precautions U.S. trademark owners can take to help stop counterfeits at the border.

Chinese Trademark Costs

You can gain valuable protection of your Chinese trademark for very little upfront cost.  A basic application submitted to the Chinese Trademark Office typically costs $1,200 in legal fees for 1-2 classes and $50 in government fees.  While this may seem like a large investment to a budget-conscious business owner, consider the cost of doing business in China without a registered trademark.  You may be susceptible to bad faith registrations or counterfeiting, which can greatly affect your future business success.  Contact an experienced trademark attorney today to begin the process to register your trademark in China.

Josh Gerben, Esq.

Josh Gerben, Esq. is the founder and principal of Gerben IP. In 2008, Mr. Gerben started the firm to provide high-quality trademark services at reasonable prices. Today, he is recognized by the World Trademark Review as a top trademark filer, having registered over 7,500 trademarks. The contents of this blog are for informational purposes only and may not be relied on as legal advice.

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