Matthew Dresden in The Economist

A vital part of the process is checking that candidate names have not already been snapped up. The Chinese are energetic trademarkers: in 2015 there were 2.8m trademark applications in China, more than treble those in America and the EU combined. Companies considering entering the Chinese market might often find that their products have already been given local names, thanks, for example, to coverage in the press.

Some even find that their Chinese name has already been trademarked, says Matthew Dresden of Harris Bricken, a law firm, either by their own distributors, competitors seeking to block its entry, counterfeiters hoping to pass as the company, or squatters intending to sell the trademark to the highest bidder. Counterfeiters might also take advantage of soundalikes, says Mr Dresden, who advises clients to trademark those, too.