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Manufacture in China? Ensure your Chinese trademark rights are secured
It’s important for Australian companies who manufacture in China to secure trade mark registration in China. This is even if they only manufacture in China and don’t actually sell their products in the Chinese market. The risks for businesses who source from or manufacture in China without obtaining Chinese trade mark protection can be significant.
In many countries it is common for border protection laws to permit a rights holder to authorise customs agencies to seize imports which infringe their intellectual property rights. In Australia, this is done by lodging a Notice of Objection with Customs.
In China, not only do the customs regulations enable a rights holder to request that Customs seize infringing imports entering the country, they also allow a rights holder to request seizure and detainment of infringing exports that are destined to leave the country. This applies even if the alleged infringing goods are not intended for the Chinese market. This was recently highlighted in Apple’s dispute with Proview where Proview, as the claimed owner of the iPad trade mark in China, sought to prevent Apple exporting its Chinese-manufactured iPads.
So, brand owners who manufacture in China must ensure that they secure trade mark registration in China to avoid any risk of disruption to supply.
Did you know?
When it comes to trade marks, China is a ‘first to file’ jurisdiction. Unlike Australia, where the ‘first to use’ a trade mark generally has equal or superior rights to a later registered owner, So, if you are thinking of selling into China or indeed manufacturing and exporting out of China, it’s vitally important to file a trade mark as soon as possible.
Markwell has partnered with specialist intellectual property law firms in China (Beijing and Shanghai) to ensure that clients who have manufacturing or sales operations in China receive the highest quality advice and representation. Contact us if you would like more information on trade marks and brand protection in China.
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Markwell is a boutique intellectual property firm that provides no-nonsense, business-relevant, expert advice in trade marks, domain names and intellectual property law. Representing brand owners in Australia, Asia and Worldwide.
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