China IP: Neither Hong Kong nor Macau Need Apply.

Interesting post over at China Business Law [link no longer exists] on registering IP in Macau, got me to thinking of a company who came to me last year for assistance in pursuing trademark infringement litigation in China.

As I always do in these situations, I first asked this company whether it had actually registered its brand name as a trademark in China. I ask this because many companies often wrongly believe they have trademark protection in China simply because they have it in their home country. The company VP answered yes. We talked for another 20 minutes or so and then I asked him to send me all relevant documents.

It was not until I got the documents that I discovered this company did not not have a China trademark after all because its trademark registration had been made in Hong Kong, not the PRC. This company wrongly assumed that a trademark in Hong Kong constitutes a trademark in China.

Registering a trademark in China does not constitute registering a trademark in either Hong Kong or Macau, and vice-versa.

Oh, and while we are at it, registering a trademark in English in China does not constitute registering it in Mandarin or Cantonese,. Not even in direct translation.

For more on registering trademarks in China, check out, China Trademarks — Do You Feel Lucky? Do You?

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