Protect the Value of Your Brand
In China's current business environment, every investment in building a brand involves great risks. When overcapacity strikes and price pressures increase, many companies in China opt to use other people's brand image to sell their products.
The number of new trademark applications in China has risen dramatically to around 600,000-700,000 annually. Up to 12% of these are "bad faith" applications. The methods used by the pirates for maliciously registering trademarks similar to known brands get more sophisticated all the time. The authorities are unable to scrutinise all of the incoming applications properly, and the efficacy of established trademark agents is often inadequate.
The situation is aggravated by the complexity of the Chinese language – the relationship of script characters to sound, shape, the flexible availability of top-down or horizontal, left-right or right-left, reading direction - this unique language situation is often manipulated by bad faith registrants to file trademarks virtually identical to existing brands.
Risks Faced By Well Known Brands
The risks are growing for firms with well known and valuable brands.
• Unauthorised firms register similar marks in the same trademark class. • The rogue firms register similar marks in adjacent trademark classes. • Or they register similar marks in more remote classes and get wide recognition. • Impact on famous foreign brands - owners lose control over market position.
Bad Faith Trademark Registrations
The casualty list is endless.
• A local company in Chengdu registered SonyEricsson's Chinese brand "索爱" as a trademark for condoms! • Pirates registered P&G's shampoo brand "莎宣" as a trademark for hairdressing equipment! • Chinese brown and white goods maker Changhong's brand "长虹" was registered as a trademark for washing machines by a company in Jiangsu Province. • A Chinese company successfully registered white goods giant Electrolux's Chinese brand "伊莱克斯" as a trademark for cosmetics! • Electrolux was also registered in bad faith as a trademark for car lamps, electric bicycles and other oddities. • Korean automaker Hyundai had to spend 40 million RMB to buy back its well-known trademark "现代" from a bad-faith registrant in China. • Local firms have registered dozens of imitation trademarks mimicking the marks of turbocharger makers Holset and Honeywell. • Pirates registered the well-known "雀巢" trademark of Swiss food & beverage brand Nestle as a trademark for oils and paints!
Prepare For the Worst
Who is the hidden hand? We have identified a business sector consisting of professional fraudsters in China who file marks similar to well known brands for the goal of extortion or to on-sell the marks to small manufacturers who use them to make short-term profits.
What happens if your brand is affected by counterfeiters? What happens if low quality or dangerous products come to market under your brand name? What happens if this attracts adverse publicity that damages your brand and undermines your market position?
Brand Protection Services Provided By ChinaWhys
ChinaWhys and associates offer a range of services to help protect your trademarks.
Multiple manual review of all incoming trademark applications every month, leaving ample time for our client to be alerted and to decide whether to launch opposition.
Intelligent registration strategies whereby protection is extended to adjacent territories and similar marks (with respect to character/sound and shape).
Interact with the Trademark Office, facilitating actions to block rogue trademark applications in the pipeline and to overturn accomplished bad faith registrations.
• Identify and investigate rogue trademark registrations • Investigate and profile bad faith registrants • Monitor incoming trademark filings on an annual fee basis • Comprehensive trademark protection strategy proposals • Trademark registrations and prior related searches • Oppositions to bad-faith trademark registrations • Assistance in trademark disputes, including negotiations • Liaison with Trademark Bureaus to facilitate countermeasures • Investigation of unauthorised use of marks • Discreet site visits, commercial approaches, evidence gathering • Coordination of administrative or enforcement raids • Training in trademark legislation and trademark management • Assistance in transactions for transfer and licensing of marks