Now I know I am always writing on protecting trademarks in China, but that is because I have seen far too many companies make the mistake of believing they do not need to register their trademark in China either because they have registered it in the United States or because they are “just” manufacturing their product in China, not selling it there. Both beliefs are wrong and both beliefs can lead to the same result: someone in China being able to prevent you from using a name or mark you thought belonged to you.
Anyway, Laurel Delany, of the always very informative Global Small Business Blog recently did a post on global trademark protection, entitled, “Globally: Protect Yourself.” The piece does a nice job emphasizing the steps companies must take to protect their trademarks overseas and it links to Ms. Delany’s story in this month’s Entrepreneur Magazine.
I actually have one tiny beef with the article though. It quotes US attorney Peter Sloane saying that “A pending [trademark] application in China confers no trademark rights, whereas in the U.S., it does.” Mr. Sloane is absolutely right on this, but I fear this statement may lead people to infer that there is therefore no rush to apply for a trademark in China because it takes years after applying for one to get one. What should be added to Mr. Sloane’s statement is that the first to apply for a trademark gets priority to the trademark.