Considering the benefits that a registered trademark can provide, more and more people and companies are continuously getting involved in activities like filing trademark applications. Once get approved, the trademark applications can ensure a lot of gains to not just the applicants (creators of product in most of the cases) but the consumers as well. All these, further, benefit the entire nation by positively impacting its economic growth, financial gainings, etc. Well, obtaining these advantages isn’t as easy as said. In general, the journey to achieve Registered Trademarks in China or other nations incorporates several hurdles. One of the most common obstacles that often affect the Trademark Registration in China is that the filed applications get rejected by the executives at the China Trademark Office (CTMO). The prime cause behind the rejection of trademark applications is the similarity between an applied trademark and any already registered or pending to get registered trademark holding earlier priority. When refusal takes place, it is usual for the trademark applicants to follow different paths and approaches to protect their interests.
Common Remedies for Refusal of Trademark Applications in China
- Filing appeal to the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board (TRAB) to display the significant differences signifying that the applied and the cited trademarks would not lead to public confusion.
- Filing opposition, if still doable, then non-use cancellation application or invalidation application against the cited trademark.
Apart from the above-given remedies, a letter of consent is another alternative that can help you to overcome the refusal of your trademark application in China. Submitting this letter if the examiner issues an unfavorable decision based on a trademark with earlier priority is a beneficial way to prevent the refusal and worries related to it.
Letter of Consent
It is a written document in the form of a contract amid the owner of an already registered trademark, and the applicant applied for the registration of a new mark. It is a means by which the owner of the prior trademark grants consent for the registration and use of the same or similar trademark filed by the applicant. Although the approach associated with this letter isn’t stipulated in the Trademark Law of China, still TRAB has been maintaining this method by admitting and considering the letter while reviewing the application after refusal.
As per the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board, the letter should meet the following requirements:
- Both the trademarks – applied and cited – should be distinguishable even though the differences amid the two are slim
- The trademarks must not be contrary or detrimental to consumer interests or public policies.
- The conflicting parts that often consist of English characters or words involved in the applied and cited trademarks should not be identical. TRAB undoubtedly supports the co-existence of marks with identical English characters or words but in rare cases.
- If both the trademarks are to be used in the Chinese market, they must not cause any confusion about the source of the products related to the mark.
- In case the letter of consent is signed out of the mainland of China, it has to be notarized and appropriately legalized, else TRAB will reject it.
If signed successfully, the letter of consent can for sure be helpful to convince the examiner that both the prior registrant and the applicant believe that the new trademark would not lead to consumer or public confusion if it gets registered. Hence, the chances of success of the review will increase manifold. As the CTMO can assume that both the parties are in the best position/ situation to determine and decide whether consumer confusion would occur or not, this letter enjoys great deference in the whole procedure.
After going through the above-given statistics, it will not at all be wrong to conclude that submitting the letter of consent signed by the owner of the cited trademark can be one of the best ways to get the refused trademark applications successfully approved for the registration. Ultimately, it is worth remembering that this letter is a profitable approach widely accepted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and several other intellectual property offices worldwide. Another considerable point about this letter is that its use has increased by many times in recent years. Note that even the international intellectual property offices often accept this document based on the consideration that the two parties involved as subjects in the matter are in the best position to ascertain that no risk of confusion or misleading for the consumers is foreseeable. For more visit: https://www.trademarkmaldives.com
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