Intellectual property (IP) rights are the most valuable assets for any company doing business in China. IP rights are automatically safeguarded by IP law, but there are also other types of legal protection you can apply for. Your IP can consist of many things such as name and logo, designs, inventions, works of creative or intellectual effort or trademarks that distinguish your business can all be types of IP.
Importance of protecting your IP–
There is no denying that China is the land of copycats and trademark infringement ran rampant in China. Naturally, it becomes a matter of prime importance to protect a great idea for a product or service. Do keep in mind that there are people who will want to duplicate your success and sell your ideas as their own. If you have a manufacturing unit in China, it is necessary to protect any unique products or services that you own as competitors can use your success to take away market share, resulting in slow growth or loss of revenue.
The problem of bad-faith registrations in China–
As China has become the manufacturing epicenter of the world, incidents of ‘pre-emptive trademark applications’, filed in bad faith are on the rise. Bad faith trademark registration in China refers to the filing of a trademark belonging to the owner of a renowned overseas company with the intention of making a profit out of it. Given the relatively low government cost to register a trademark, some squatters can hold hundreds of Chinese trademarks at once.
The best approach of protecting your IP in China–
Foreign companies can increase their competitiveness in a variety of ways by dedicating time and resources to the importance of their Intellectual Property (IP) protection in China. Trademarks function by serving as source identifiers to consumers. Considering how essential this intellectual property is to the company’s bottom line, protection of China trademark becomes paramount. By establishing a close collaboration with the trademark lawyers in China, foreign companies have an incentive to avoid leakage. Along with the trademark, registering word mark is also a vital part of running your business. Businesses should register their trademarks with the China Trademark Office, including the English name, Chinese character name, and Chinese “pinyin” name (i.e. phonetic transliteration of the Chinese characters).
Perhaps because of the reputation that it has developed for IP piracy, the Chinese government has taken steps to show that it’s trying to fight counterfeit products. Your first step in developing a strategy should be to identify and prioritize your key IP assets.