How to Resolve Trademark Squatting in China?

Has someone in China registered your trademark and even proposed to sell it back to you?

Trademark squatting can happen to every business, and it may result in serious consequences:

Loss of trademark rights

The rightful owner may be unable to use their own trademark in China, even if they have already registered it in their home country.

Damaged brand reputation

The squatter may use the registered trademark in an unsavoury manner.

Difficulty entering the Chinese market

The business may face difficulties entering the Chinese market if they are unable to secure its trademark rights in the country.

Loss of revenue

The business may be unable to sell its products in China under its established brand name. 

Costly legal battles

The business may be forced to go through a long and costly legal process in order to regain control of its trademark.

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It is important to take proactive measures to protect your trademarks in China. This includes searching the trademark registry, registering your trademarks in China as early as possible, and regularly monitoring for any potential infringement.

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Legal Q&A

What is trademark squatting in China?

Trademark squatting in China refers to the act of registering a trademark owned by another company or individual with the intent of profiting from it. Squatters in China may register trademarks similar to those already owned by others and then attempt to sell them back to the rightful owners. This practice has become a serious problem in China, especially for international businesses that don’t have a presence in China.

How can I protect my trademark in China?

To protect your trademark in China, you should consider registering it with the Chinese Trademark Office as soon as possible. This will give you legal protection in China and help prevent others from registering your trademark in bad faith. It’s also important to monitor the Chinese trademark database for any potential infringing trademarks, so you can take legal action if necessary.

What legal options do I have if my trademark has been squatted in China?

If your trademark has been squatted in China, you have several legal options. You can challenge the registration through legal proceedings, negotiate with the squatter to buy back the trademark, or use administrative remedies. However, the legal process can be complex and time-consuming, so it’s advisable to seek legal counsel from a local Chinese lawyer.  Even if you agree to buy back the trademark, you need to consult the local lawyer first to identify the right approach.

What evidence do I need to prove that my trademark is being squatted in China?

To prove that your trademark is being squatted in China, you will need to provide evidence of your prior use or registration of the trademark in your home country, as well as evidence of the squatter’s bad faith or intention to profit from the registration. This may include evidence of the squatter’s use of the trademark or attempts to sell it back to you at an inflated price.

Can I sue a trademark squatter in China if I'm based in North America?

Yes, you can sue a trademark squatter in China even if you’re based in North America. However, it’s important to hire a local Chinese lawyer who can represent you in the legal proceedings and navigate the complexities of the Chinese legal system. The lawyer can help you gather the necessary evidence, file the lawsuit, and negotiate with the squatter.

What are the potential penalties for trademark squatting in China?

Trademark squatting is illegal in China and can result in fines, confiscation of infringing goods, and even criminal penalties in serious cases. Additionally, the squatter may be ordered to transfer the trademark registration to the rightful owner. If the squatter’s actions have caused significant damages to your business, you may also be able to seek compensation through a civil lawsuit.

What can I do if a squatter has registered my trademark in China?

If a squatter has registered your trademark in China, you can file for invalidation of their registration through an administrative procedure at the China Trademark Office. If their application for a trademark is still in process, you can file for opposition to prevent their registration. These legal options can help you reclaim your trademark rights in China.

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