When filing a trademark application in China, it is important to carefully consider the type of mark to be filed. Based on many cases in China, it appears that filing a logo or design mark may be riskier than filing a wordmark.
In one case, Bonamark's clients decided to file a logo for their brand of bags and trunks in China. They conducted a basic search on Bonamark.com and found no identical trademarks in the country, so they proceeded with the filing. We must point out that the client did not order an Extensive Study. The Chinese Trademark Office (CTMO) issued a Refusal Notice 6 months after the application date. They found a trademark that had a low level of visual similarity and no similarity in sound or conceptually. However, they stated that the logos were similar and could be misleading for the consumers. Bonamark’s attorney in China informed the client that the chances of overcoming the objection were low, so the client decided not to proceed with the registration process.
This case highlights the risks involved in filing logos or design marks in China, the level of similarity required by the CTMO to issue an objection can be very low. The CTMO’s examiners may be more likely to find a similarity between a new logo mark and an existing mark, even if the similarity is not immediately apparent and is insufficient to cause confusion according to the standards of other countries. The minimal visual similarity between two logo marks can lead to Refusal Notices, which can be difficult and costly to overcome.
On the other hand, filing a wordmark in China may be a safer option. Wordmarks are more likely to pass the examination stage, especially if they are distinctive or unique. This can increase the probability of registration and reduce the risk of objections or refusals.
When considering filing a trademark application in China, it is important to carefully consider the type of mark to be filed. Based on our experience, filing a wordmark may be a safer option than filing a logo or design mark, as it may have a higher probability of registration and be less likely to face objections or refusals. It is advisable to conduct a thorough trademark search and consult with Bonamark before filing any trademark application in China or any other country.
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