China trademark registration

Interesting post over at China Business Law [link no longer exists] on registering IP in Macau, got me to thinking of a company who came to me last year for assistance in pursuing trademark infringement litigation in China.

As I always do in these situations, I first asked this company whether it had actually registered its brand name as a trademark in China. I ask this because many companies often wrongly believe they have trademark protection in China simply because they have it in their home country. The company VP answered yes. We talked for another 20 minutes or so and then I asked him to send me all relevant documents.

It was not until I got the documents that I discovered this company did not not have a China trademark after all because its trademark registration had been made in Hong Kong, not the PRC. This company wrongly assumed that a trademark in Hong Kong constitutes a trademark in China.

Registering a trademark in China does not constitute registering a trademark in either Hong Kong or Macau, and vice-versa.

Oh, and while we are at it, registering a trademark in English in China does not constitute registering it in Mandarin or Cantonese,. Not even in direct translation.

For more on registering trademarks in China, check out, China Trademarks — Do You Feel Lucky? Do You?

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Photo of Dan Harris Dan Harris

Dan is a founder of Harris Bricken, an international law firm with lawyers in Los Angeles, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, China and Spain.

He primarily represents companies doing business in emerging market countries, having spent years building and maintaining a global, professional network. 

Dan is a founder of Harris Bricken, an international law firm with lawyers in Los Angeles, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, China and Spain.

He primarily represents companies doing business in emerging market countries, having spent years building and maintaining a global, professional network.  His work has been as varied as securing the release of two improperly held helicopters in Papua New Guinea, setting up a legal framework to move slag from Canada to Poland’s interior, overseeing hundreds of litigation and arbitration matters in Korea, helping someone avoid terrorism charges in Japan, and seizing fish product in China to collect on a debt.

He was named as one of only three Washington State Amazing Lawyers in International Law, is AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory (its highest rating), is rated 10.0 by AVVO.com (also its highest rating), and is a recognized SuperLawyer.

Dan is a frequent writer and public speaker on doing business in Asia and constantly travels between the United States and Asia. He most commonly speaks on China law issues and is the lead writer of the award winning China Law Blog. Forbes Magazine, Fortune Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, Investors Business Daily, Business Week, The National Law Journal, The Washington Post, The ABA Journal, The Economist, Newsweek, NPR, The New York Times and Inside Counsel have all interviewed Dan regarding various aspects of his international law practice.

Dan is licensed in Washington, Illinois, and Alaska.

In tandem with the international law team at his firm, Dan focuses on setting up/registering companies overseas (via WFOEs, Rep Offices or Joint Ventures), drafting international contracts (NDAs, OEM Agreements, licensing, distribution, etc.), protecting IP (trademarks, trade secrets, copyrights and patents), and overseeing M&A transactions.