Every person and enterprise shall make trademark protection as the top priority before building a brand of products or services. If trademark protection strategy is not well planned and gives someone a chance to misappropriate or squat the mark, great economic loss might be caused and the brand image might also be ruined. As a result, obtaining trademark protection is the first and the most important step of establishing a brand.

Every person and enterprise shall make trademark protection as the top priority before building a brand of products or services. If trademark protection strategy is not well planned and gives someone a chance to misappropriate or squat the mark, great economic loss might be caused and the brand image might also be ruined. As a result, obtaining trademark protection is the first and the most important step of establishing a brand.

March 2018

TRADEMARK SEARCH

It is very important to make sure that the words or design of the mark is not similar with other’s trademark before filing trademark applications. This step not only avoids infringing other’s right and causes unnecessary dispute, but will also raise the success rate of approval.

March 2018

TRADEMARK APPLICATION

The type of trademark includes trademark of goods or service, collective trademark, certification mark, and collective mark. Words, devices, symbols, colors, three-dimensional shapes, motions, holograms, sounds, or any combination thereof may file application of trademark. A trademark may consist of words, devices, symbols, colors, three-dimensional shapes, motions, holograms, sounds, or any combination thereof.

March 2018

FORMALITY AND SUBSTANTIVE EXAMINATION

Examination period of a trademark application usually takes 8-12 months and some countries needs longer. So the sooner application is filed, the better.

March 2018

TRADEMARK APPROVAL AND PUBLICATION

After the application is approved, the mark will be published in Trademark Official Gazette. Publication period would be three months, and the purpose of the publication is to give all trademark owners a chance to confirm whether the newly approved application infringes someone’s right. If anyone thinks the application shall not be approved, he/she may file an opposition to request a re-examination.

March 2018

TRADEMARK REGISTRATION

As soon as a trademark is registered, the proprietor of a registered trademark shall have the exclusive right of the trademark for a period of ten years from the date of publication for registration. The period of the trademark right may be renewed, and the duration of each renewal period shall be ten years.

After obtaining the protection of trademark right, if you found someone’s brand logo is very similar with your trademark and both of you do the same kind of business (for example, you both sell clothes or operate restaurants), you should actively protect your trademark. And here are the measures you can take

File trademark opposition

Any person may file an opposition to registration of a trademark with the Registrar Office within three months from the day following the date of publication of registration. We pay much attention to guard the trademark right of our clients. As a result, we monitor every Trademark Official Gazettes for our clients and we will voluntarily contact our clients if we found similar marks.

Revocation of registration on grounds of non-use:

If someone registers trademarks as a means of earning money instead of using them (we called the person “trademark squatter”) and causes rejection of your trademark application, you shall apply for revocations with Registrar Office. If the trademark squatters are not able to provide the proof of use, the squatted trademark registrations will be revoked.

Invalidation

An interested party may file an invalidation with the Registrar Office, or a trademark examiner may submit a proposal to the Registrar Office for an invalidation, against a trademark registration on the grounds that such registration has infringed the interested party’s right and falls under the regulations which indicated that the mark shall not be registered in Trademark Act. Where an invalidation against a registered trademark is sustained, such registration shall be cancelled. On the other hand, according to Trademark Law of China, if a registered trademark violates the prohibitive provisions in Trademark Law, or the owner of the trademark registered it by improper means, any person may apply to the Trademark Office for the cancellation of such registered trademark.

Copyright

Economic rights are terminable. After a period of time, economic rights shall be extinguished and the work will become public goods, which means everyone may use it at will. However, in the term of protection, any person who intends to use the work shall ask the consent from the copyright owner. As for the term of protection, it varies from country to country. Usually economic rights endure for the life of the author and fifty years after the author’s death.

 

What copyright purposes to protect is the expression of work instead of the work’s underlying ideas. It is called idea-expression dichotomy.

 

The author of a work shall enjoy copyright upon completion of the work and does not need to register the copyright with Authority in principle. However, “completion of the work” is an abstract concept of time, the key point in the court when dispute occurs is how to adduce enough evidence. As a result, the author shall keep the work and obtain objective evidence, such as filing a record application with the Authority or preserving the public prints.

Works shall include the following

Oral and literary works (ex. Harry Potter), Musical works (ex. symphony of destiny of Beethoven), Dramatic and choreographic works (ex. the ballet “Swan Lake”), Artistic works (ex. the “Mona Lisa”), Photographic works (ex. the ”Afghan Girl”), Pictorial and graphical works (ex. hello kitty), Audiovisual works (ex. DVDs of “The Avengers”), Architectural works (ex. the Leaning Tower of Pisa), Sound recordings (ex. the albums of Lady Gaga), Computer programs (ex. Microsoft Office series).

Categories of Copyright

Moral rights

The right of disclosure; the right of paternity; the right of integrity

Economic rights

The right of reproduction; the right of public recitation; the right of public broadcast; the right of public presentation; the right of public performance; the right of public transmission; the right of public display; the right of adaption; the right of distribution; the right to rent

Invention patent

“Invention” means the creation of technical ideas, utilizing the laws of nature. The key point of an invention patent is “technicality”. Simple discovery, skill, disclosure of information or artistic works does not meet the requirements of invention. After receiving application documents and determining through examination that the application conforms to stipulated formality requirement and contains no elements that may be deemed unsuitable for laying open, the Specific Patent Agency shall lay open the patent application for invention 18 months since its filing. The term of an invention patent shall expire after a period of 20 years from the filing date of the application.

Utility model patent

“Utility model” means the creation of technical ideas relating to the shape or structure of an article or combination of articles, utilizing the laws of nature. Such creation shall have the value of usage and actually be useful. Simply abstract ideas or concepts, production methods, disposals, instructions, chemistry without form or structure do not meet the requirements of utility model. The term of a utility model patent shall expire after a period of 10 years starting from the filing date.

Design patent

“Design” means the creation made in respect of the shape, pattern, color, or any combination thereof, of an article as a whole or in part by visual appeal. For computer generated icons (Icons) and graphic user interface (GUI) applied to an article, an application may also be filed pursuant to this Act for obtaining a design patent. The term of a design patent shall expire after a period of fifteen (15) years from the filing date of the application.

When a creation is conform to regulations and has been granted for an approval decision from Patent Registry Office, the creation will need to be laid open and it will be under the protection of patent for a certain period of time. The patentee of the creation has an exclusive right to prevent others from making, selling, using or importing the creation without the patentee’s consent.

Filing a patent application is a very professional skill. Except for concretizing different concepts of creation into words, sometimes it is necessary to make drawings to let people understand the technical characteristics. The filing procedure needs plenty of experiences and professional knowledge to related industry. You definitely need assistance from patent engineers and patent agents.