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What should I think about when I am trying to pick a name to register as my trademark at the State Intellectual Property Office?

There are several restrictions as to what constitutes a legitimate trademark according to the Trademark Law. Article 8 of The Trademark Law of the People's Republic of China determines what can and what cannot be registered as a trademark. Disclaimer 5 of Article 8 is particularly important as it prohibits the registration of a trademark that has words that are related to a generic name or design of the designated goods. What this means is that a car manufacturer cannot register the brand name "Car" for a trademark. The manufacturer is able to call his product "Xxxxx Car", where the "Xxxxx" is another name, but the manufacturer is not able to obtain the trademark rights to the word "Car", as it is a generic name. It is very important to pick a name that is not generic or universal in any way.

Another important limitation when registering a trademark is those limitations explained in disclaimer 6 of Article 8. A trademark can not have words "which directly indicate the quality, main raw materials, function, use, weight, quantity or other characters of the goods." What this means is that a trademark cannot indicate the actual characteristics of the good or product. Therefore, the car manufacturer cannot register the trademark "Fast Car" or "Reliable Car", as the words "Fast" and "Reliable" imply characteristics of the car. This is also an important point to consider when picking a name for a trademark.

Disclaimer 8 of Article 8 also sets limitations as to trademarks that have words that denote an unhealthy or unfavorable influence. Disclaimers 1 and 2 stipulate that trademarks can also not be identical or similar to the national names, flags or emblems of China or any other foreign country.

It is also very important that you pick a distinct and original name, as a lack of distinctiveness is another major reason for the rejection of a trademark application. If the brand name that you register as a trademark does not abide by these regulations and others stipulated in the trademark law, the State Intellectual Property Office, when performing the preliminary examination, will reject the trademark application.

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