In China, trademarks are protected under the Trademark Law of the People's Republic of China. If you believe that an existing trademark in China is infringing upon your rights or that it is invalid, you can challenge the trademark through various legal channels. In this article, we will discuss the steps you need to take to challenge an existing trademark in China.
Step 1: Conduct a Trademark Search
Before you challenge an existing trademark in China, you should conduct a trademark search to determine whether your proposed mark is identical or similar to an existing registered trademark. You can conduct a trademark search on the China Trademark Office (CTMO) website. If you find that there is a conflicting trademark, you may want to consider filing a cancellation or opposition proceeding.
Step 2: File an Opposition or Cancellation Application
If you believe that an existing trademark in China is infringing upon your rights or that it is invalid, you can challenge the trademark through an opposition or cancellation application. The procedures for opposition and cancellation are slightly different.
Opposition: If the trademark you wish to challenge has been published for opposition, you can file an opposition application with the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board (TRAB) within three months from the publication date. In the opposition application, you need to explain why you believe the trademark should not be registered.
Cancellation: If the trademark you wish to challenge has already been registered, you can file a cancellation application with the TRAB or a People's Court. In a cancellation application, you need to provide evidence that the registered trademark is invalid, for example, that it is confusingly similar to your mark, or that the registered trademark was obtained through fraud or bad faith.
Step 3: Attend the Hearing
After you have filed an opposition or cancellation application, the TRAB will schedule a hearing to determine whether the trademark should be cancelled or maintained. You should attend the hearing and present your evidence and arguments.
Step 4: Appeal the Decision
If you are not satisfied with the decision of the TRAB, you can appeal the decision to the People's Court within 30 days of receiving the decision. The People's Court will review the case and make a final decision.
Challenging an existing trademark in China can be a complex and time-consuming process. It is recommended that you seek the advice of a qualified trademark attorney to guide you through the process. However, if you believe that an existing trademark is infringing upon your rights, it is important to take action to protect your interests. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can challenge an existing trademark in China and protect your brand.