Can One Change The Font Of An Already Registered Trademark At Their Will In China?

Trademarks registered in China are valid for 10 years. With the evolving brand strategies and trends, owners of the trademark tend to bring in minor alterations in the font of their trademark to go with the changing trends. So is this minor change in trademark permissible? Is there a need to re-register the trademark that has gone minor changes in their font?

Yes, the trademark has to be re-registered. Change in the font is also considered as a change in trademark and so must be applied for registration. For instance, it could be a change from handwritten style trademark to boldface style. “Where a registered trademark needs to change its mark, the application for registration shall be re-proposed”, specifies the Chinese Trademark Law. Once the trademark is approved and registered, the pattern of the trademark is limited to the approved pattern. The applicant is not permitted to change the font or format of the trademark at will.

During the trademark registration process, the trademark office checks for the uniqueness of the mark and ensures it is not similar to other registered trademarks. Even any minor change in the font of the mark can change the overall pattern greatly and this can result in a probability of conflict with any existing trademark. This similarity can disturb the normal market order and public judgments.

In case the user insists on altering the font of his already registered trademark, he cannot use the trademark registration symbol along with it. Using the registered symbol along with the altered mark means using a fake registered trademark. If altered, the applicant has to re-apply at the Trademark Office for the trademark against the changed font. This has to be done to protect the mark with exclusive rights.

In rare cases, if the font of the mark is handwritten at the time of registration, a minimal change that does not change the overall material composition of the mark is permitted when converted to a printed format. In this case, it is not considered illegal.

To be precise, once approved and registered, the applicant of the trademark is not permitted to change even the font of the trademark. If done, it may right away lead to cancellation of the registered trademark. So, if the applicant intends to modify the mark, he needs to re-apply to ensure proper protection over the mark.