Should I Register My Trademark In China? [Podcast Ep18]
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“Should I register my trademark in China?” is a common question I get from clients.
Let me simplify it for you.
There are 3 scenarios that apply.
1) Are you sourcing products from China?
If you source products from China and you buy from Chinese manufacturers, the short answer is YES!
You should definitely register your trademark in China.
We’ll get into why in a minute.
Take my word for it and just do it.
Don’t waste time.
I’ve got so many experiences I can share with you – first-, second-, and third-hand.
And it’s so cheap and easy to register your trademark that it’s a no-brainer.
The protection it offers you, the aggravation is saves you, is worth it.
2) Are you a strong E-commerce brand selling your products online?
Even if you don’t buy products from China.
Even if you don’t sell your products in China.
You still want to register your trademark in China.
And the reason is that the online world is so small.
All the big E-commerce sites like Ali Baba, Taobao, and Amazon are global.
This means they operate in China too.
If companies in China see you doing well with your product, they’ll copy it.
Not just the Chinese, others too.
But in China, they’re great at figuring out what works and what does well, then copying it.
They’ll copy the product AND the brand.
And they’ll start selling it online in China.
It’s quite disheartening because when your customers do searches online, they’ll see the copycats.
This is the last thing you want because it confuses your customers.
And there’s nothing you can do about it.
On the other hand, if you had registered your trademark in China, it very easy for you to approach these online platforms and get the copycat products taken down.
Now, I have to make this clear:
If you’ve registered your trademark in other countries but haven’t in China…
And you need to take a copycat off the market…
You’ll still need to register your trademark in China, prove your use-case, etc.
I fight these cases all the time and they take about a year to resolve.
That’s PLENTY OF TIME for a copycat to kill your brand online.
If instead, your trademark was already registered in China – and it only costs a few hundred dollars – all you have to do is take your Chinese trademark registration certificate, hand it in to the online platforms, and they’ll take it down.
They will comply.
People have this misconception that you can’t protect your trademark in China but you actually can. There’s huge respect for the law.
As long as you have the right documentation, it’s very easy.
Especially with the legitimate online platforms – I’m talking about the big players – that follow and respect the law, having your trademark registered will save you a fortune.
3) Are You Starting A Business?
If you haven’t started selling yet, but you’ve got an idea or you’re setting up your business, you’ll be spending money on setup costs.
Setting up your Amazon account, your business registrations, you’re paying for samples, etc.
My recommendation for you is to spend a few hundred dollars more to get your Chinese trademark registered from the start.
Just consider it part of your setup cost and an investment.
It’s one of the cheapest investments you’ll make in your business.
Because if you’re successful and your brand takes off, a few hundred dollars are insignificant compared to the problems you may have to deal with down the line.
These problems are so vast and so expensive to deal with, and the truth is you almost always get nowhere.
Now, having that trademark certificate with the Chinese registration really gives you a lot of power.
And it is enforceable cost-effectively.
It’s really a misconception that China will rip-off anything.
If you have your intellectual property registered in China it’s very easy to protect.
And again, I’m not talking about international IP, where you’ve registered under the Madrid Convention and you think you’re protected for a year.
That’s all fine academically and in theory.
But protecting your IP this way will cost you thousands and thousands of dollars in lawyer’s fees and so much time and energy.
I say for a few hundred dollars upfront you can save all that aggravation.
Get your trademark registered in China so you can put all your time, energy, and resources into your brand, your reputation, and your product, and not get ripped-off.
To summarize, here are the 3 cases where you must register your trademark in China:
- You source products from China, nomatter what business you’re in
- You sell online globally, even if you don’t sell in China or sourcing products from China
- You are starting a business and are busy setting up all your accounts and business registrations
That last one is like a crystal ball you’ll wish someone had given you, saying,
“If only I had known this at the beginning, it would have saved me a fortune.”
Well, I’m going to save you that fortune now. And I couldn’t recommend it more.
In my client trainings, I share so many case studies where I go into detail about real situations that have happened to me, to friends of mine, cases we’re defending, etc.
This is real, first-hand experience. It’s cost us tens of thousands of dollars.
And the reality is I could have stopped it all.
I could have prevented it all if I had spent a couple of hundred dollars on registering my trademark certificate in China.
And that’s what I want you to do.
If you want to dive deeper into this topic, you can opt-in to watch our free training.
OR if you want to talk to an expert on the phone, book a consultation with us.
This is a subject I’m super passionate about because I’ve been burned. And I really want to protect other people from making these mistakes.