Intellectual property (IP) protection is a longstanding and critical concern for companies operating in China, which has also been a key point of contention in the US-China trade war. China has already made strides in recent years to improve IP protection as the government seeks to spur domestic Chinese innovation and improve the business environment for investment, such as revising its IP laws and establishing a new national IP appeals court. However, challenges remain, as counterfeiters and infringers are getting increasingly sophisticated. For example, infringers may take advantage of procedural loopholes and proactively seek to invalidate legitimate IP rights. Companies are thus suggested to develop a comprehensive strategy to identify and protect their IP in China. This includes enhancing internal controls and making the best use of external resources.
In China, IP is defined as a proprietary right enjoyed by a holder with respect to their works, inventions, trademarks, geographical indications, trade secrets, layout design of integrated circuits, new varieties of plants, etc. Among others, copyrights on works, patent rights on inventions, utility models, and designs, and trademark rights, are the most common IP rights.
IP protection is a long-term project that the China market participants must always pay attention to.
China has been making substantial efforts to improve the IP protection offered in the country. Besides launching a lawsuit, a more time and cost efficient way might be to report to the competent authority directly, which can help IP rights holders achieve the following:
For businesses engaging in import-export, they are suggested to file their patent, copyright, or trademark, with the customs authorities. This is necessary because:
To file with customs, applicants shall either be the IP owner (for trademark and patent, its IP registration shall be done with the competent authority of China and for copyright, its country of origin should be a member of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works) or a qualified agent in China. The IP customs filing takes around 1.5 months and the general procedure is as follows:
Dezan Shira & Associates can provide the most updated information and professional services concerning IP protection, and we welcome anyone who is interested in the China market turn to reach out to us for getting more information. You may email us at China@dezshira.com.
About Us China Briefing is written and produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The practice assists foreign investors into China and has done so since 1992 through offices in Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Suzhou, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong. Please contact the firm for assistance in China at email@example.com. Dezan Shira & Associates has offices in Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore, United States, Germany, Italy, India, and Russia, in addition to our trade research facilities along the Belt & Road Initiative. We also have partner firms assisting foreign investors in The Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Bangladesh.
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