China Due Diligence - Trademarks - Protect the NHS
Updated: May 25, 2020
So it doesn't matter that the NHS has been around for 70+ years. Unlike the UK, China has a FIRST TO FILE system of trademark protection.
In the UK our first to use system offers a level of protection. However in China no such first to use clauses exists and this leaves you vulnerable.
Trademark squatting is an issue in China, anyone can legally file to use your name. If they are the first to file they can take action against you if you use what is now their name in the People's Republic.
Usually this ends with a request for a large amount of money to allow you to use your own mark.
Recently we've helped some NHS Trusts file for their individual names but we are surprised how many NHS organisations and Royal Colleges are operating in China without taking this step.
It is reasonably cheap to file for a Chinese trademark and protect your name in China, sure it takes a while (6-18 months) but that doesn't matter as you are the first to file so are in effect protected from the moment the application is made.
Most scary of all is that as far as anyone in our network knows no one has thought to protect those 3 small letters NHS !