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We suggest the trademark owners to register the marks in the countries where they sell/provide their goods/services, the countries where the goods are produced in and the countries where the company is registered.

For example, a Hong Kong company produces the goods at a factory in Vietnam and sells the goods to the customers in the USA and EU. We recommend that you register the trademark in Hong Kong, Vietnam, USA and EU. If any staff of the company uses/registers the trademark, the labours of the factory smuggle the goods or any party to register the mark in your target market countries, you may sue them with the ground of infringement.

Most Trademark Offices accept foreigner/ foreign company register trademark in their country. Therefore, trademark registration is not an origin proof of the goods or services.

You are not able to put “Made in Italy” on your goods if they are not made in Italy but only register the trademark in Italy.

Most Trademark Offices divide two grounds for refusal in the stage of substantive examination. The first one is “Absolute grounds for refusal” and the second one is “Relative grounds for refusal”.

Absolute grounds for refusal include but not limited to the following reasons:

The mark is devoid of any distinctive character; (e.g. “ALUMI” for aluminum; “APPLE” for apple, etc.)
(2) The mark designates the quality, geographic origin, time of production of goods or service, etc; (e.g. “1960” for red wine, “Swiss Mineral Water” for bottled water products, etc.)
(3) The mark consists with signs which have become customary in the current language; (e.g. “Telecom” or telephone logo for telecommunications services, etc.)
(4) The mark is the shape of the goods themselves
(5) The mark is contrary to accepted principles of morality or likely to deceive the public
(6) The mark consists of or contains the national flag or emblem, regional flag or emblem or their design
(7) The application for registration of the mark was applied for in bad faith; etc

Relative grounds for refusal: the mark is similar to or identical to one or more prior mark and likely to cause confusion to the public.

Therefore, if your mark has not been rejected with the abovesaid grounds for refusal, it is likely to be accepted for registration.

Kaizen will provide an order form for your handling, it includes the following particulars:-

(1) Information of the owner, i.e. name and registered address of the company or individual
(2) Class(es) and Goods/services
(3) Country(ies)
(4) Priority information, if any
(5) Chinese translation of the above information for Chinese language countries

The information in the above question is sufficient for filing trademark application in most of the countries. However, some countries are required to provide the following documents:-

(1) Power of Attorney, Declaration (simply signed or notarized or notarized and legalized, which depends on country)
(2) A copy of identity proof of the applicant (passport or BR/CI, with signature and company seal, if necessary)
(3) A soft copy of the trademark in JPEG format
(4) A priority document if priority is claimed (certified copy or notarized or notarized and legalized, which depends on country)

You can use the mark anytime if you do not concern the protection of it in any country. You may consider to add “TM” or “SM” to your mark. A “TM”or “SM” usually is used in connection with an unregistered mark, to inform potential infringers that a term, slogan, logo or other indicator is being claimed as a trademark. Use of the TM symbol does not guarantee that the owner’s mark will be protected under trademark laws.

We suggest to submit trademark applications as soon as possible if your mark is already disclosed to others.

Most International company will submit a word mark application once they have decided the name of their products/services. Then proceed to design their logo of the name and finally submit another application for the logo. If they have changed their design after several years, they will submit a new application for their new design. It is the perfect way to protect the mark.

However, some start-up companies have to control their expenses. We will suggest them to apply the designed mark and make sure that the name should not be disclosed to other before filing the application. Also, please conduct trademark search before filing the application. If the chance of registration is not very high, please change the name.

You are able to use your mark anytime. However, if you concern the protection of your mark, you may consider to add “TM” or “SM” to your logo before the mark is registered.

If the mark has been registered, please put ® to your mark. The symbol ® is a notice of registered ownership used in many countries or regions to advise the public that a trademark or service mark is registered and to provide constructive notice of the legal ownership status of the mark with which it is used. The ® symbol should be used only in connection with registered trademarks or service marks.

Typically, it is placed in the upper right-hand corner, in the lower right-hand corner, or level with the mark or logo itself. Each way is acceptable when displaying the appropriate symbol.

For example:

A priority claim is an allowance based on Article 4 of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property.

It enables you as the owner of a filed trademark to file subsequent trademark applications in any of the Convention’s signatory countries using the effective date of your first application as long as you file the subsequent applications within six months of your original trademark application.

For example, your very first trademark application was submitted on 1st January 2020 in China. You are going to submit the same trademark application on 1st May 2020 in the EU. You may request to claim priority for EU, the application in EU will be considered to be applied on 1st January 2020. If any similar mark application filed after 1st January 2020 in EU, will be considered as a later application.

However, if you file the same trademark application on 1st August 2020 in the USA, the six months period is passed, you are not able to claim priority for the USA application.