Protecting Trade Marks via a Copyright Registration in China

Much of the world, including Australia, is reliant on the Chinese manufacturing industry. It is therefore important to ensure control of your trade mark rights in China even if your Chinese-manufactured goods are destined for sale in markets outside of China.

A little known mechanism for strengthening your trade mark rights in China, particularly for logo trade marks, is to seek a copyright registration. A copyright registration for a trade mark can be used to prove ownership of that mark in China. Should a third party use an identical trade mark, or a part thereof, in bad faith without the authorisation of the copyright owner, the owner can use the copyright registration as a basis for regaining control of their trade mark. Notably, the copyright owner need not have registered their mark as a trade mark to exercise and enforce their copyright rights. Moreover, copyright rights may be exercised and enforced irrespective of the goods for which use of the trade mark in bad faith by the third party has occurred.

The registration of a trade mark under copyright may also be useful where a third party has pre-emptively filed an application to register your trade mark in China, and where there is otherwise insufficient evidence to prove that the third party filed the application in bad faith.

A copyright registration for trade mark in China can be obtained for less than A$1,000.00, which is relatively inexpensive. Please contact Watermark for further information if you are considering seeking protection under copyright for a trade mark in China.