1. What is a trademark?
A trademark is a combination of letters, words, sounds or designs that distinguishes one company’s goods or services from those of others in the marketplace.
A trademark is unique. It is important to a company because, over time, a trademark comes to stand not only for the actual goods and services you sell but also for your company’s reputation and brand. By registering your trademark, you protect it under the law from misuse by others.
2. What can be trademarked?
A phrase, word, symbol, device, or even color are all eligible for a trademark. Anything that distinguishes the goods of your party or company from another qualifies. However, the item must be used in a commercial setting to obtain protection from the law.
3. What is a patent?
A patent is a protection granted by a national government for an invention. This protection excludes others from making, using or selling an invention for a period of up to 20 years. For patents to be issued by a granting agency such as a Patent Office they need to be new, useful and not obvious to others working in the same field.
4. What is a copyright?
Copyright is a law that gives the owner of a work (for example, a book, movie, picture, song or website) the right to say how other people can use it. Copyright laws make it easier for authors to make money by selling their works. With copyright, a work can only be copied if the owner gives permission.
5. What is the NICE Classification system?
The Nice Classification (NCL), established by the Nice Agreement (1957), is an international classification of goods and services applied for the registration of marks. A new edition is published every five years and, since 2013, a new version of each edition is published annually.
Questions about Chinese Market
1. As a foreign applicant, do I need to appoint a professional representative in China?
Yes. If a foreign applicant, enterprise or organization does not have a residential or business address in China, they must appoint a legally established patent agent to represent them in the patent prosecution procedure in China.
2. What is the trademark subclass classification system in China?
One of the more distinctive aspects of China’s trademark system is its unique interpretation of the Nice Classification system. China divides each Nice class into subclasses and treats each subclass as a discrete unit. A trademark registration gives the owner rights in the covered subclasses, but virtually no rights in any other subclasses.
3. Are Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macao different in terms of IP protection?
Yes, in terms of IP laws, Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan are separate jurisdictions, and must be filed as such.
4. Should I register my original trademark or its Chinese translation?
You can register a trademark in China in different languages and versions. It is highly recommended to register your trademark in three versions: in original language (Latin letters), in Chinese characters, and the symbol or logo. Please note that different versions of the same trademark are all considered separate applications.
5. How to adapt a trademark for the Chinese mark?
This can be done in a few different ways:
Transliteration – Transliteration is an approach by which the corresponding Chinese character is selected to form the Chinese trademark according to the pronunciation of the foreign trademark. Most Chinese trademarks designed in this way do not have specific meanings
Literally – A literal translation works when the trade mark has a distinctive meaning,
Adaptation – Some foreign trademarks have no practical meanings but are translated into Chinese characters or phrases with practical meanings according to their features, and the translations are creative, imaginative and impressive.
Questions about Canadian Market
1. How long will it take for a Canadian trademark examiner to review my trademark application?
The wait time is between 12 to 14 months before an application is reviewed by an examiner at the Canadian Intellectual Property Office.
2. How long does it take for me to get a registration once I file my application?
The entire application process, from filing to registration, generally takes 18 to 24 months if there are no objections from an examiner or opposition to the application.
3. How long is my registered trademark good for?
Registered trademarks in Canada last for ten years and can be renewed every 10 years after that.
4. Does Canada adhere to the first-to-file or first-to-use system?
Canada operates under the first-to-use system, which means that the first person or company to use the trademark in association with the sale of goods or services on the market has the rights to that mark. In a first-to-use trademark country, as long as proof can be shown, the right to register a trademark belongs to the person who first used the mark in commerce, regardless of if (or when) an application to register the trademark was filed.
5. Can a registered trademark be transferred?
Yes, trademarks are a form of property. They can be sold, bequeath or transfer your rights to someone else through an assignment. To avoid ownership disagreements, you should formally tell the Registrar about changes in ownership.
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