A few months ago, a couple of our China lawyers did a project for a company looking for various ways to bring its internet game to China. Now that the project is over, I cleaned up my files and came across an initial email interaction between the client and me, that went something like the following (the point of which is that China’s internet is different from the West, and legally complicated):
Q. How can we register trademarks in China? We’ve already registered them in the United States and in Vietnam (that’s a long story), but now we are ready to register them in China. What do we do?
A. You register trademarks in China pretty much like anywhere else, which means that you firs figure out the appropriate category/class and then you register your trademark in that category/class. The thing about China though is that if you register your trademark in video games, you have zero protection from someone using your trademark on their t-shirt or even in their book. Add in the fact that all of this has to be done in Chinese and you can see how difficult it is. Then there is the separate issue of copyrights, which may or may not protect some of what you are doing.