Chinese IP law: A frequent superstition and the most necessary basics

von Dr. Meyer-Dulheuer & Partners LLP

Many people believe that in China intellectual property is rather a paper tiger than a serious method to protect a company’s innovation. Measures and strategies to register a brand, patent or design are assumed to involve more risks for the own invention than protection. This particularly includes the widespread fear of stealing and copying ideas, also referred to as “counterfeiting”.

Is this fear justified? Or can I benefit from the registration of my invention in China?

In fact industrial property rights are extensively regulated in China. The Chinese government joined numerous important international agreements, such as the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, which governs a whole lot of international patent filing rights, or the Patent Cooperation Treaty, which allows you to simultaneously apply for a patent in a large number of countries.

Nevertheless there are problems with regional protectionism, a lack of coordination between the different local government bodies and barriers caused by inexperienced human resources. However, you take a far higher risk of your invention or brand being copied in China if you decide to go without any official registration.

The benefits are simple, but substantial:

  1. Without official protection, you won’t be able to take legal proceedings against any infringement of your property rights. Counterfeiting your products in China could then be seen as legal.
  2. To prove an innovation’s origin and to protect the copyright, the official registration is necessary.
  3. And last, but not least – How will you sustainably generate revenue on the Chinese market if you haven’t eliminated the risks of counterfeiting?
Register your IP in China – But know whom to talk to

As a foreign company without economic establishment in China, the registration often can’t be applied directly ...

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