Trademarks and Patents


Trademark and Patent Registration in Asia

Intellectual property theft is one of the most common concerns for business owners to overcome when they enter into the Asian business markets and one of the most effective ways to prevent intellectual property theft is to register trademarks and patents prior to conducting marketing activities or doing business in Asia. We assist with trademark and patent registration throughout Asia and with drafting intellectual property licensing contracts.

Intellectual Property Rights are Territorial

Trademark and Patent rights are territorial so if a company registers a trademark or is approved to file a patent in North America or Europe; for example, the intellectual property rights that were granted are rarely recognized in Asia. Intellectual property laws in Asia are based on local laws and enforcement practices and most countries administer a first-to-file trademark registration system, which means that the first person or legal entity that files a trademark application will be deemed as the owner of the trademark if the application is approved. This is distinguishable from a first-to-use registration system, which recognizes ownership of trademarks on the basis of first use. As a result of there being no requirement to actually use a trademark prior to submitting an application for registration, another applicant may obtain registrations for trademarks which they have not and will never use in order to sell these marks back to their rightful owner.

If a business has yet to or has already entered the Asian markets, the registration of trademarks should be strongly considered. Trademarks are critical business assets and are particularly relevant for Small to Medium-Sized Enterprises (SME). Although SMEs often have limited resources, it is important to be aware of how important the registration of trademarks can be for their businesses. It is crucial to adopt an effective and realistic intellectual property protection program for the specific Asian country a business is operating in. If proactive steps to protect intellectual property theft are not taken prior to or shortly after entering into a new market, this could lead to could lead to loss of business, revenue, reputation and competitive advantage in that market.

Likewise, patents should be registered prior to introducing technologies into the Chinese Market.

Enforcing Intellectual Property Rights

Our Intellectual Property Group specializes in assisting victims of intellectual property theft by providing the following services:

  • Trademark enforcement, opposition, cancellation and defensive registrations
  • Trademark, patent and copyright use investigations
  • Evidence preservation
  • Trademark office and customs complaint filing
  • Drafting cease & desist letters
  • Unfair competition lawsuits
  • Administrative enforcement of intellectual property rights
  • Intellectual property enforcement and infringement cases
  • Trade secrets and unfair competition cases

Rights holders often seek redress for trademark infringement through administrative adjudication because the corrective measures that are ordered by an administrative tribunal can occur shortly after a complaint is filed. Corrective measures that may be taken by administrative tribunals and government agencies include:

  • The issuance of cease and desist orders
  • Investigations and raids
  • The imposition of fines
  • Revocation of a business license
  • Suspension of manufacturing
  • Seizure and destruction of raw and semi-processed materials, manufacturing devices and equipment, packaging and finished counterfeit products
  • The closure of wholesale markets that typically provide a venue for the sale of counterfeit goods

If our client is dissatisfied with a decision rendered by customs or an administrative department, they may file a lawsuit. For serious cases of infringement in some countries criminal prosecution may ensue. Our team of experienced litigators are readily available to help our clients recover their intellectual property and seek other appropriate remedies.

Developing Asian Language Trademarks

It is advisable to develop Asian language trademarks since the registration of a trademark in English does not automatically protect the trademark against the use or registration of the same or similar mark in Asian languages.