The international trade mark classification divides goods and services into classes. Its foundation is the “NICE Classification” with 45 different classes for goods and services. The advantage of classes for trademarks is that products with the same name can coexist in different classes. This basis is also valid in China; however, there are different factors to be aware of here to be able to guarantee effective trademark protection. The classes in China are divided into numerous subclasses that are often only minimally different from one another and are constantly subject to change.
Determining the class(es) in which protection for the company, product, or brand name should be registered nationally or internationally is an important step. It is essential to make this decision early, because in the creative phase, the agency will screen ideas for availability. If the suspicion arises that a favoured name could injure the rights of third parties, this name idea can be discarded early in the process of evaluating ideas.
It should be taken into consideration that in China, the system of “first registration” is used. This says that a company can lose its legal protection in China if a similar mark has already been registered in China. It is therefore essential to register a trademark in China before it is introduced to the market. In addition, it is important to carry out the registration early, because the registration process can take up to 18 months and the trademark is only protected after the conclusion of the registration process.
These are only some of the factors which must be considered when registering a trademark in China. We at INCREON support you during naming with trademark classification, taking advantage of our experience and know-how from being in business in China since 2007. Especially in China, during the phase of evaluation concerning trademark law, the cooperation with Chinese trademark attorneys is essential. For this, we have well-known partners at our side.