TRADEMARK REGISTRATIONS FOR FASHION BRANDS IN CHINA, JAPAN AND SOUTH KOREA
This article is based on an old favorite – ”Trademark Registration in China – New directives” with some new comments made regarding the ever changing intellectual property landscape in the world’s second largest economy.
We have over the past few years seen a large increase in the number of Western brands that are hijacked in China. We conducted a test of twenty relatively newly established Western fashion brands to see how many have actually been hijacked. Notable was that only five had chosen to apply for a Chinese trademark, although they probably have their production in place in the country. Eleven (!) of the trademarks had been registered by another party!
Tens of thousands of counterfeit goods are seized by the China Customs every year that are about to be exported out of China. The confiscated goods turned out to infringe on registered trademarks in China and nearly all of these trademarks had been registered not only with the China Trademark Office but also with the Chinese Customs.
We have seen many trademark battles in China the past years, like the case against Air Jordan or the one against New Balance to name a few. Since China is an essential market for many companies, they need to set a clear strategy for how to manage Intellectual Property in China to secure their rights properly.
China Customs officials check outgoing shipments for counterfeit goods infringing on registered Chinese trademarks against China’s Trademark database. Lately it has been noticed that they tend to check only against their own Customs database, meaning that you have to register your trademark through the China Customs to receive the enforcement by China Customs. In short, this means that there are legal and practical requirements that are somewhat unique or China and neighboring countries.
Otmore recommends following the steps below in order:
- Register your trademark name as domain names in China (TMname.cn, TMname.com.cn TMname(in Chinese letters).网址.
- Follow this procedure when applying for a trademark in China:
- Trademark name in latin letters and official spelling
- Trademark name in Chinese symbols
- Trademark name translated to Chinese, in latin letters
- Register your trademark with the Chinese Customs
JAPAN and SOUTH KOREA
Western brands have an increasing presence in these markets and in some cases also place production sites here. Just like in China – brand owners need to reconsider their strategy regarding intellectual properties in these jurisdictions.
Otmore recommends the same procedure as for China when applying for trademarks in Japan and South Korea. The same also goes for some of the other Asian markets like Hong Kong and Vietnam, specially if production is located in any of these countries.
Building a strong brand is not only about marketing but also about protecting it, and threats can come from different directions. Let Otmore help you protect your brand, so that you can focus on growing your company. Contact us today to get more information about what we can do for you.