Sued for infringing your own trade mark?!
We strongly encourage Australian companies who are considering doing business in China to register their trade marks in China as early as possible.
A recent case involving an Australian company illustrates the risks for those who do business in China without a registered Chinese trademark.
Trade mark theft
The Australian company now faces a long and tough battle to reclaim their rights in China. It’s much harder to fix this situation than it is to prevent it in the first place.
LessonsThere are two main lessons to take from this case.
First, if you’re contemplating doing business in China, register your trade mark in China as early as possible, well before you enter the market. China has a “first to file" trade marks system, which generally means the first person to file for a trade mark will have exclusive rights over its use.
Second, using your trade mark in Australia doesn’t necessarily mean you are free to use it in China. You should check for similar or identical existing Chinese trade mark registrations that could pose a problem for your business. Our Guide to searching the Chinese trade marks register (link below) can help you do a preliminary check yourself. We also encourage you to ask a trade marks attorney to do a professional search.
A registered Australian trade marks attorney who has China expertise and experience can help you register your trade marks in China and other overseas markets.
For all our guides and material on how to protect your IP in China, see IP Australia's China page.
Disclaimer: This article provides general information only. It is not intended to provide legal, business, or other professional advice. You should obtain any appropriate professional advice relevant to your particular circumstances.