As a new trademark law goes into effect today (May 1, 2014) in China, this is a good time to evaluate your level of protection.  If you do business in China or plan to, there are a few things you should know.  Even if your company name, slogan, logo, or product names are registered in the United States, you should separately register your trademarks in China.

Chinese trademark rights are given to the first company to register a mark, regardless of who used the mark first. There are many instances where Chinese companies have registered the marks of U.S. companies.  If someone else registers your mark in China, you could be prevented from not only selling into China but also from exporting branded merchandise out of China if you manufacture there.  One benefit of the new trademark law is that your contractual business partners like distributors or manufacturers are now prohibited from registering your mark out from under you. Even so, the prohibitions only protect the original brand owner in limited circumstances, and it may be costly to try to recover a hijacked brand. 

Ultimately, the best defense is a good offense.  If you want to do business in China, it is advisable to proactively register your trademarks.

Jennifer concentrates her practice on designing and implementing intellectual property protection plans, enforcing intellectual property assets, and drafting and negotiating software licenses and a variety of technology agreements. She prosecutes trademark and copyright registration applications and handles domain name and Internet content disputes, as well as negotiates and drafts contracts that implicate intellectual property or technology rights.

As a native Chinese speaker and writer, Connie effectively counsels both foreign and domestic clients. She concentrates her practice in the areas of intellectual property law and health care law. She is a registered U.S. patent attorney with medical and life science experience who focuses on patent prosecution and counseling in the areas of biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, medical device and life sciences.

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