In Taiwan you can apply to register a trademark even if you haven’t yet started using the mark. However, once the mark is registered you will need to use the mark with the associated goods or services within three (3) years from the registration date, and if during the term of registration (ten years) you cease using the mark without good reason for a period of three consecutive years, the mark will become vulnerable to cancellation.
To apply for registration of a mark, you will need to prepare 18 samples of the mark as it will be used. You indicated the mark would be either TOFUDOCIOUS or DOFUDOCIOUS. These are what are referred to as “word marks” and if you wish to protect either of these marks, you need simply prepare typed samples of the same and affix the 18 samples to the application form. If you seek protection of the mark as a word mark (rather than as a mark utilizing stylized script) then you will have exclusive rights to write the mark in any script you select, or in any variations of script that you choose. If you decide to apply for registration of the mark with a stylized script, you will need to use that particular stylized script whenever you use the mark. That will be important when you apply to renew the registration at the expiration of the first term… you need to use a stylized mark exactly as it is registered… use of a different stylized script may give rise to difficulties in renewing the registration.
You will need to identify with significant specificity the goods and or services for which you seek protection of your mark. You will also need to determine in which class of the International Classification of Goods and services your goods and or services belong. Taiwan’s Intellectual Property Office (TIPO) now permits the filing of a single application for a single mark that designates multiple classes of goods and or services.
It is important that you identify the goods and or services with specificity because the examiners at TIPO can be maddeningly nitpicky about the identifications and may demand further item-by-item specification, amendment, or deletion of inappropriate goods or services. This will add costs to your application/examination… as I assume you will seek the assistance of an agent. Your agent will charge for each notice from TIPO regarding the application and for each response to the same.
You will need to provide a Chinese language name and address of either yourself or your entity (individuals and entities can apply for trademark registration). If you apply for registration in the name of your company (entity) you will need to provide TIPO a certificate of incorporation or some similar document evidencing the legitimacy of the entity, and you will need to submit an affidavit stating that you either use or intend to use the mark with the goods and or services you will deal in.
It is currently taking TIPO about 14 months to complete an examination of an application and to approve or reject the same. Taiwan’s Trademark Law was recently revised and the amended version was enacted on November 28, 2003. Under the revised Law, a mark for which an application has been approved will be registered first and then the registration thereof will be published in Taiwan’s Trademark Gazette. Other parties will then have an opportunity to seek to revoke the registration if there is some legitimate reason for doing so (such as the mark being confusingly similar in appearance, pronunciation or concept to another mark with a earlier registration date).
If you have any questions, PM me.