Revealing the Best Ways to Protect Intellectual Property in China

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Intellectual property (IP) rights are valuable assets for your business – possibly among the most important it possesses. To be successful in China, the US and the European firms should develop an integrated IP protection strategy that reflects the nature and extent of the IP problems they face while operating in China.

You wouldn’t like it if someone were to use your idea or concept without your permission, especially when the motive is profiting. This applies to both large-scale and small-scale businesses. Protecting your intellectual property helps retain the company resources. An organization that owns IP can realize value from it in several ways, namely through utilizing it internally—for its own processes or provision of goods and services to customers—or sharing it externally.


Revealing the best ways to protect intellectual property in China


Register your IP rights in China

In order to enforce IP in China, foreign firms are required to register their IP in China. Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan all have separate legal systems. Protection in each territory requires a separate registration. If you want protection in these territories, you will need to register your IP rights in these territories. China Trademark Office is a Shanghai-based Chinese government approved agency dealing with IP.  You can search the Trademark gazette here, and also file applications (if you have a business registration in China).


IP Enforcement

IP enforcement is carried out at the state level and at various local levels by the provincial and municipal IP authorities. You may wish to consult a qualified IP professional who is familiar with the legal system in China to explore the various enforcement mechanisms available.


Register with China Customs

Foreign businesses need to separately register their IP and trademark with Chinese customs.  While all types of IP can be registered with Chinese Customs, you may have the most success with trademarks and design patents because it is easier for Customs to determine infringement.


While the Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou IP courts and the IP tribunal of the Supreme People’s Court can only adjudicate civil and administrative IP cases, the specialized regional IP tribunals can adjudicate civil, administrative and criminal IP cases. It is the Chinese government’s view that the intellectual property protection system plays a significant role in promoting progress in science and technology, enriching the culture and developing the economy.

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