According to the Chinese trademark law and regulations, when a foreign citizen or foreign enterprise has trademark matters to attend to in China, if it or he has a habitual residence or business place in China, it or he can handle by itself or himself, or can entrust a Chinese trademark agency established by law; if it or he does not have a habitual residence or business place in China, it or he must entrust a duly established Chinese trademark agency.
There are many provisions on entrusting Chinese trademark agencies; among which the following should be paid attention to by the foreign parties:
- The agency must be established by law, recorded in the Chinese Trademark Office and shall be valid.
- A power of attorney signed by the foreign citizen or enterprise shall be provided to the authority when entrusting a trademark agency, and different forms of Power is used for different trademark matters.
Currently, there are mainly two official forms for matters before the Chinese Trademark Office (CTMO) or the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board (TRAB), one is used before CTMO for trademark matters like application for registration, assignment, change, renewal, opposition, cancellation of non-use of three years, etc., another is used before TRAB for trademark matters like review on refusal, review on opposition, invalidation request, review on cancellation decision, etc. The Power of Attorney for filling an opposition must be in original, while for other matters, it could be a copy.
In the procedures before the court, there is no official form for Power of Attorney, the involving party can make one according to actual needs, but the POA shall be notarized and legalized.
- Different from only one agency representing one patent, one trademark could be represented by several agencies at the same time. The specific power of each agency is decided by the power of attorney submitted.
For example, the trademark application for registration is filed by agency A, the request to change name/address of the applicant could be filed by agency B, and the review on refusal could be represented by agency C. Then official documents for different procedures will be issued to the corresponding agency, namely, agency B will receive the documents for the change request, and agency C will receive documents for the review, and the registration certificate will be still sent to agency A unless the applicant files a special request to change the agency to another one.
When different agencies are used for the same mark, the applicant shall remember to keep touch with all of them to receive documents safely. Or it is advised to use only one agency in the same period.
- The request to change the trademark agency is acceptable in some procedures, but not in all occasions. For example, the agency for trademark application for registration, cancellation of non-use, opposition, review on opposition, review on refusal, invalidation etc. could be changed in the middle of the procedure, but the agency for change of applicant’s name/address, assignment, renewal, removal can’t be changed in the middle of the procedure.