• What is a "trademark"?

    A "trademark" is a sign that is used to distinguish one's goods or services from those provided by others. As the economy, culture, and the market diversify, the types of trademarks may now include a packaging design, three-dimensional object, sound, or even a scent. In the Republic of China, a trademark refers to a sign consisting of any word, figure, symbol, color, sound, three-dimensional shape or any combination thereof. In addition, the minimum requirement of the trademark laws of every country is that a trademark must be recognizable to the general consumers as a trademark and is indicative of the source of the goods. Most generic names or direct or obvious descriptions of goods do not possess the characteristics of a trademark. (§5, Trademark Act)

    Legally, the registration of a trademark accords the right to eliminate other party's use of the same trademark or the right to license the same trademark to someone else. In addition to traditional trademarks labeled on the goods or their packaging and containers, trademarks may also include some special forms such as three-dimensional, color and sound trademarks.

    Three-dimensional trademark: A three-dimensional trademark is a sign consisting of a three-dimensional shape formed in three-dimensional space, whereby consumers are capable of distinguishing the sources of different goods or services. For instance, if the shape of goods or the shape of their packaging or containers can identify the source of the goods, it can be registered as a three-dimensional trademark.
    Color trademark: A color trademark is a single color that is applied, in whole or in part, to the surface of goods or the container or to the place of business where services are provided. If a color itself can adequately identifies the source of goods or services, not in combination with a word, figure or symbol, it may be registrable as a color trademark.
    Sound trademark: A sound trademark is a sound that can adequately allow relevant consumers to identify the source of certain goods or services. For instance, a short advertising jingle, rhythm, sound of human speaking, peal, bell ringing, or the call of an animal can be registered as a sound trademark.

  • What is a "collective trademark"?
    As the term suggests, a "collective trademark" is a brand commonly used by the members of a group. It could be a farmers' association, a fishermen's association, or other associations that are eligible for filing an application for registration of a collective trademark. All goods or services produced/manufactured or provided by the association members may label the collective trademark to distinguish those goods or services from goods or services produced/manufactured or provided by others. A collective trademark is intrinsically still a trademark. However, the major difference between a collective trademark and a trademark is that a collective trademark is used by the members of a group in connection with goods or services, while a trademark is used by the registrant for identifying his/her own goods or services. (§76, Trademark Act)
  • What is a "collective membership mark"?
    A collective membership mark identifies the organization or membership of a business association, social organization, or any other group that exists as a juristic person; that is, a collective membership mark is a general membership mark. The Lions Club, the Rotary Club, and a political party are all eligible for filing an application to register a collective membership mark for identifying their organizations or memberships. A collective membership mark has no direct relationship with business activities related to goods or services, as it simply identifies the organization of the group itself or the membership of its members and will be displayed on relevant articles or documents, while a collective trademark identifies the goods or services provided by the members of the group using the trademark. They are different intrinsically. (§74;§75, Trademark Act)
  • What is a "certification mark"?
    A certification trademark is a sign used to certify the characteristics, quality, precision, origin or other matters of another person's goods or services, e.g., the Taiwan fine product sign, UL electrical appliances safety sign, ST toy safety sign, and 100% wool sign, which are familiar to the average Taiwanese consumers. An applicant of a certification mark must be a juristic person, group or government agency that is capable of certifying an entity's goods or services. The use of a certification mark shall mean that the right holder of a certification mark, in order to certify the characteristics, quality, precision, origin or other matters of another person's goods or services, agrees to the person for displaying the certification mark on articles or documents in connection with the goods or services. (§72;§73, Trademark Act)
  • With whom shall a trademark application be filed?
    The competent authority set forth in the Trademark Act is the Ministry of Economic Affairs. However, trademark matters shall be exclusively dealt with by one of its subordinates, the Intellectual Property Office (hereinafter " TIPO") (
  • How to file a trademark application.

    In filing a trademark application, an application form should be prepared, and the filing date is the date when the relevant documents are received by TIPO or the postmarked date. No delivery of the application via facsimile is allowed. In addition, the application shall be accompanied by the following documentations:

    Application specifying the name and address of the applicant, the proposed trademark, the class of the designated goods/services and the names of the goods/services;
    Clear trademark representations;
    Government fees;
    In case a trademark agent is appointed, the Power of Attorney (if in a foreign language, a Chinese translation is required);
    The application must be signed or sealed. If a trademark agent is appointed, the application may be signed or sealed by the trademark agent only.

  • Is there a standard form for trademark applications? Where can one obtain the application form?

    The application form can be downloaded free of charge from TIPO's website (at, or can be purchased at the Counter located on the 4th floor of TIPO at NT$15 per copy (tel: (02)23767164, 23767165), or by postal remittance to the account "the Intellectual Property Office of the Ministry of Economic Affairs. Applications are divided into four different categories, namely, trademark, collective trademark, certification mark, collective membership mark, with each having the following types of application forms:

    general trademark application
    color trademark application
    sound trademark application
    three-dimensional trademark application

  • Who is eligible for filing a trademark application?

    Generally speaking, any domestic or foreign natural person, juristic person or business entities (business establishments or firms) who use trademark to identify the goods or services they offer in trade, may file a trademark application in the name of an individual, juristic person or business entity, except for collective trademarks, collective membership marks and certification marks, which are subject to the following rules:

    The applicant of a collective trademark or collective membership mark is restricted to business associations, social organizations, or groups that exist as a juristic person. In filing an application, the applicant must submit the certificate of incorporation proving that the applicant has been registered and filed with the competent authority and has completed its recordation as a juristic person with a court, and the regulations governing the use of the collective trademark or collective membership mark, specifying membership qualifications and the regulations controlling the use of the collective trademark or collective membership mark. (§39, Trademarks Regulations)
    The applicant of a certification mark is restricted to juristic persons, groups or government agencies who are capable of certifying another party's goods or services. In filing an application, the applicant must submit documents specifying the qualifications or capability to issue the certification, requirements for labeling the certification mark, the rules governing the use of the certification mark, and a declaration stating that the applicant does not engage in the manufacturing and marketing of the goods to be certified or provision of the services to be certified. (§38, Trademarks Regulations)

  • Can a trademark application be filed by a company that is undergoing incorporation?
    Yes. In practice, a company undergoing incorporation is the predecessor of the company to be incorporated. They are deemed the same entity. However, the particulars of registration shall be submitted after the incorporation of the company has been registered. (§91, Trademark Act)
  • Is it required to appoint a trademark agent for filing a trademark application?

    A trademark application may be filed either by a trademark agent or by the applicant himself/herself. The general public may prepare and submit a trademark application, but the application must comply with the requirements set forth in the Trademark Act. In the event that any assistance is needed, please consult the Trademark Information Desk of TIPO, tel: (02)23767570. However, no selection or appointment of trademark agents is provided. (§8, Trademark Act)

    If a trademark agent is appointed, the trademark agent shall be notified of all procedures related to trademark application and further submissions or corrections to perfect the application.
    A foreigner who has no domicile or place of business within the territory of the Republic of China (ROC) must designate a trademark agent who has a domicile in the ROC for handling trademark matters. However, a foreign company that has been approved under the Company Act of the ROC and has set up a branch office is not required to appoint a trademark agent since it can give the place of business in ROC and its representative.