What is the “first to file” principle?

China does not require “use” or “intention to use” for filing a trademark registration application. This means anyone can file any trademark for registration in China as long as it has not been filed by someone else in China before and does not breach any Chinese laws.

If two or more applicants file the same trademark application, the one who files first can be registered. The other applications will be rejected.

If two or more applicants file the same trademark application on the same day, the one who used the proposed trademark first can be registered.

If none of them had used the proposed trademark, they can negotiate and reach an agreement which will be recoganised by China Trademark Office.

If no agreement can be reached, China Trademark Office will determine who can have the trademark by drawing.