Many foreign companies from all over the world want to enter the Chinese market for their business. Still, for that purpose, these companies need to understand how the trademarks work and registered in China. They also want to know what are their limitations and requirements of the trademark registration process in China. Today we will discuss all the essential points related to it.

What is the trademark registration process in China, and how it works?

First of all, we need to understand that China’s Trademark Regime has the first-to-file system, and most importantly, China does not count and recognize any international brand if It is not registered in China Mainland.

But, China does recognize and accept the Nice Agreement of the International Classification of Goods and Services under 1957, which are further divided into subclasses.

Therefore, all the brands local and foreign who want to work in China have to register their trademark in China, keeping in mind the Chinese characters, which will help them avoid any infringement of business. It is considered a complicated process that also requires research and understanding of Chinese style so that their brand and trademark can have appropriate and right meanings as well as the relevance to the business, too, selecting a proper image for their brand.

Why do you need to register your trademark in China even it is a famous brand?

After all these details, you need to understand why you need to register the trademark in China; even your brand is internationally famous and well-known.

As we have mentioned above, China only acknowledges and recognizes those brands which are register with its jurisdiction; therefore, it is an essential and legal step for all the foreign companies to register their trademark in China. Especially if the brand is well-known and established, there are chances for it to have counterfeiter, frequent, or even grey market supply.

In case a company doesn’t register its trademark in China, they can have a business and customers. Still, they are unlikely to produce any legal grip and benefits, and they might have to invest a lot of money in dealing with legal processes related to its which is, at the end time consuming as well as costly at the same time.

Moreover, if you are working in China without registering a trademark in China, you can lose any infringement claims quickly; either they are legitimately selling these goods in China or other country or even manufacturing these brands in China.

Also, if any other company has registered your trademark in China before you, they can report an infringement case on you, and as per the law, either you are the rightful owner, you can lose the trial and get charged at the same time.

Step by step process of the trademark registration process in China:


The brand can use either file a form through the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) or by the China Trade Mark Office (CTMO).

Choose the service or product subclass:

As we have mentioned above, Chine also accepts the 1957 Nice Agreement of International Classification of Goods and Services, which are further divided into the subclasses. Therefore, you need to understand the subclass in which your service or products are further divided into.

1.    Register your trademark in Chinese Characters as well

The element which most of the foreign companies have to understand that is registering trademark only in Roman characters will not entirely protect the trademark against infringement. Therefore, they have to register a trademark in Chinese characters as well, which is a strong element in the profitability of the business.

2.    What are the advantages of submitting the Trademark Application with CTMO?

When any foreign company wants to proceed with the trademark registration process in China, they have to submit their trademark application to CTMO by any registered agent in case you don’t have any place of business or residence in China.

That is why if you don’t have complete experience in registering your trademark in china to hire a trademark lawyer or agent so that they can take care of all the translations, class, subclass, and image and trademark registration process at once. It can save your time, money, and energy and let you focus on your business and details.

What things to consider while selecting a Chinese trademark name?

When it comes to registering a trademark, you need to register it in the Chinese version as well or consider its direct translation, so there is no room of infringement or miscommunication.

Following are some strategies for foreign clients and companies to consider while selecting their name in Chinese:

Literal translation

It works when the trademark has distinctive meanings; therefore, a company has to go for the direct translation of the work. The brand needs to take some time out and money to build an association between the Roman trademark and Chinese trademark so that they can associate links between them.

Phonetic translation

It means that the interpretation of the Roman characters is done in the Chinese as per their sound. Such as the brand “McDonald’s” is translated in “Mai Dang Lao.” This helps the Chinese people to develop a better association with the brand and protect the trademark at the same time.

Combination of phonetic and literal translation

While selecting the translation, the best strategy which is most effective is to get the combined interpretation of the authentic and phonetic trademark. Although it can be a little lengthy and tricky, it is worth every bit of your time and effort. For example, a well-known brand, “Coca Cola,” is translated into ‘Ke Kou Ke Le’ (可口可乐).


It is an essential element to understand that registering a trademark in China is a tricky job. If you don’t have complete knowledge of Chinese, you should try to opt for an agent for the trademark registration process in China. In other words, if you want to go by yourself, you need to go through all the steps and keep an eye on every element as well.

Hamza Maqsood is a content advertising professional at brand websites, inbound advertising and blogger that helps organizations attract visitors, convert leads.

China stock photo by Sean Pavone/Shutterstock