Trademark Application in China


China trademark registration system adopts a first-to-file principle. Prior use, unless well-known which is very difficult to achieve, is mostly irrelevant. Filing date and registration are all important in the claim and creation of China trademark rights. No declaration of continual use is required for renewal. Nonetheless, if a registered trademark is not used in Mainland China for any continuous period of 3 years, it is vulnerable to a cancellation on the ground of non-use.

Who can apply

A foreign company or individual can apply to register their marks in China without nationality restriction or residency requirement. There is no need to set up company, office or address inside China. Application can base on intent to use. Neither commencement of use nor proof of use is required for the issuance of the trademark certificate in national application.


A. Name and address of the applicant: for a foreign company or individual, a Chinese version of the name should be provided.

B.Sample of the trade mark: a high quality representation of the trade mark is needed together with the meaning of the mark (if any)

i. If the trade mark is a colour combination or colour pattern, a colour drawing shall be submitted together with a black and white draft;

ii. If the trade mark is a colour combination, it shall state the method of use of the trademark;

iii. the length and width shall not exceed 10 cm and shall not be less than 5cm;

iv. If it is a three-dimensional mark, it shall include at least a three-dimension view;

v. If it is a sound trademark, it shall be described using a stave or notation; a text description shall be attached, where it is impossible to use a stave or notation for the description; shall state the method of use of the trademark;

vi. If it is a collective mark or a certification mark, it shall have management rules for use.

C. Classes and description of goods/services on which the trade mark is used:

It is recommended to use the names of the goods/service items in the International Classification (Nice Classification)


No notarization or legalization is required.

E. Identity Proving Documents

Proving the applicant was legally registered and is standing well. Such document could be Business License, Certificate of Registration, Certificate of Incorporate, etc.

Nor notarization or legalization of the document is needed.

F.Letter of Consent:

If the trade mark contains a picture or portrait of an individual who holds the rights to the image, a letter of consent of that individual is required.


Generally speaking, it takes 9 months around for Chinese Trade Mark to make a decision on whether to approve the trademark application:

The timeframe for the whole process:

Filing receipt and filing number

within 1 months

Application searchable in official website

within 3 months

Substantive examination

3 - 8 months

Opposition period after publication

3 months

Issuance of trademark certificate

3 - 5 months

Upon registration, a registered trademark is first valid for 10 years and is renewable indefinitely for further periods of 10 years each by paying the renewal fee.