Beware of Fake Trademark Agents

Apr 30, 2018 | Trademark Blog

Maybe because Taiwan and China are geographically close and a lot of people have business relationship with China, it is not rare for you to hear people share their experiences about doing business over there. Everyone has a story to tell. Let me tell you a story that to me is more like seeing an urban legend come true than just a story.

A couple weeks ago I got a phone call from a client who needed me to check the status of some trademarks that they had paid a trademark agent in China to apply for in 2012. It usually takes about 12 to 18 month for the trademark examiners in China to make up their decision. So it is odd for applications to be pending like this after more than 24 months.

I ask the client for the application numbers of those trademarks so I can check the status at the China Trademark Office database.

I typed in the application numbers to get the info.


The search result shows that there is no info for this application. Since the database is not known for being precise I move on to check the other applications, then the second, the third, the forth… I can’t squeeze out any results from the database for any of the numbers my client gave me.

This is something new.

Til that very moment I still thought it was all a sloppy mistake by the trademark office.


The clients not only provided me the application numbers, they also sent me the confirmations from the trademark office saying they had accepted the applications. Everything certainly seemed ok.

However, when I called the China Trademark Office they said none of these applications exist. Those confirmations are fake.

To look just look like real cases, the application numbers are carefully arranged to look like a real application. I pull out a confirmation that I already have from another case I submitted for a Chinese trademark and compare it with the one from my client. The fake one use the same typeface, the same form, it even has the official stamp and a bar code printed on it. It is impossible for you tell the differences without carefully examination.

I had heard stories that some trademark agents did not file the applications and vanish with the client’s money. It feels like seeing an urban legend come true. According to search results from Chinese search engine BAIDU, for sure this is not the first and I guess not the last time this will happen.

I would like to skip the dramatic part about when I brought the bad news to the client; let’s just say that there were lots of words that it would be inappropriate to share here.

So is there anything we can pick up from this story?

Well, there are over 10,000 trademark agents in China, it is hard for you to spot the black sheep.

Checking the trademark agent list on the official website ( would be a good start and after you have received the confirmation from the Trademark office that they have accepted the applications, you can check the application number with the China trademark database. (

Another way is to ask your local trademark agent here in Taiwan or in your country if they are working with someone in China who they know and trust. As always in China, who you know is very important to make sure you don’t fall victim to any fake trademark agents.

Musa Trademark is a duly registered business in Taiwan and has assisted brands and businesses wanting to protect their trademarks. Contact us today for a free strategy consultation.

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