It has recently been reported that consumers in China are increasingly interested in purchasing products that are manufactured in the United States. The Brandchannel.com website reported that because they fear being cheated or being sold fake goods, many consumers in China actually prefer products that have a "Made in USA" label.

U.S. companies, and other companies that have manufacturing facilities in the U.S., are increasing their efforts to sell their products into China not only through traditional sales channels, but also through the internet.

But, in order to capitalize on this phenomenon, companies must ensure that they own trademark rights in China, and they need to do it as soon as possible. China is a "first to file" country, which means that, generally speaking, trademark rights will be granted to the first party to file a trademark application for a mark.

Therefore, if you want to sell products into China to take advantage of a "Made in USA" consumer preference--even if you only sell to Chinese consumers via the internet--you must register your trademark in China. The good news is that there is a relatively straightforward and cost-efficient way for companies that manufacture in the U.S. to obtain and maintain a China trademark registration, if the company owns a U.S. trademark registration. Those companies can file a trademark application under the provisions of the Madrid Protocol treaty, by basing the application on their U.S. trademark registration.

Of course, there are many more steps that a company needs to take to be successful with a marketing program directed to consumers in China, but obtaining trademark rights in China should be one of the first steps that a company takes.