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Manage your Intellectual Property in Mainland China, HongKong, Macao and Taiwan

Start with your trade mark

Founder and owner of German SME Natooke Ines Brunn wanted to promote biking in China and decided to set up a shop selling cool and colorful bikes. Natooke was the first store in China to build bespoke fixed gear bikes using bike parts from around the world, and aims to make biking hip and modern again. As a hip brand requires adequate trade mark protection, Ines shares her experiences in registering the trade mark and how this registration benefitted her business.

 “When I started my business I had never thought about registering my IP. I had a bit of a misconception that only big companies can register IP”, Ines says. “When a friend suggested that that I should register my shop name and the brand names of products that we sell, I contacted the China IPR SME Helpdesk for advice.”

The Helpdesk provided first line advice on different ways to register the trade mark, and Ines decided to register through the international system. When she had to transfer the trade mark to her own name a few months later, Ines contacted the Helpdesk again. “They gave me a lot of information, the process is not difficult once you know how it should be done”, Ines says.

“When I registered my trade mark it was just to protect my logo, but over time people approached me that wanted to open a franchise shop”, she continues. “At the moment we have a franchise shop in Chengdu, and I am very happy that I decided to register the Natooke trade mark, because using the franchising system to monetise my brand wouldn’t have been possible if the trade mark hadn’t been registered”.

What recommendations would Ines give other SMEs, based on her own experiences? “If you have your IP registered you do not only protect your brand, but you can do franchising agreements and generate business from it. I recommend other companies to immediately think about IP and have it registered.”

 

Lessons learnt:

  • Register your trade mark, in your own name, as soon as you register your company in China
  • Realise that your trade mark doesn’t just protect your brand name or logo, it can be used to monetise your brand as well.

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