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Backgrounder on IP registrations in China
While numerous foreign companies believe that China represents an exceptional corporate opportunity, worries over the level of protection they can expect for their IP, trademarks, and copyrights have long been a barrier to their moving forward. In reality, while knock-off and copy-cat products originate in numerous countries, for years China was and still is considered the most flagrant offender.
It bears mentioning however that for several products, a factory needs just a handful of genuine articles sourced abroad in order to re-engineer or copy them. Thus, simply choosing to stay out of China does little to alleviate your IP challenges there.
The laws and culture of China are unique and dynamic, and every company, big or small, that intends to take advantage of the Chinese market effectively and efficiently, or intends to operate on Chinese soil must have competent and experienced guidance from a China legal specialist who works hand in hand as a partner with the client.
Companies that are contemplating a presence in China need to carefully consider their IP strategy and use experienced agents who can not only register, but also defend, their intellectual property if need be.
One of the first things that companies should do is establish exactly what their trademark status is in China, whether they are actively functioning in China or not. Hundreds of products with well-known brand names that have historically only been sold outside of China may already be registered inside China by other parties. Thus, it is conceivable that an unsuspecting foreign manufacturer doesn't even know that similar products, often of inferior quality, are sold under its trademark in China. So the case is made that aggressive tactics should be adopted to guard one's brand regardless of whether or not products are manufactured or even sold in China. As mentioned before, staying out of China simply because of IP concerns will not only mean missing out on the world's largest market for products and services, but will also probably mean inadequate vigilance and enforcement of one's own brand, with the risk that "brand equity" will be damaged.
For obvious historical reasons, Chinese laws on IPR protection developed late in comparison to most countries. However, the Chinese government has determined that this historical failure to adequately guard IP was having a deleterious impact on its drive for ever-increasing employment and foreign investment. Moreover, even famous Chinese brands were falling prey to knock-off manufacturers. Accordingly, and in concert with its entry to the WTO, it has placed an ever-growing emphasis on IPR security for foreign and domestic companies alike.
IPO PANG has been helping foreign companies develop their IP strategy to maximize their IP security in China for several years, working in conjunction with enforcement partners and associates that have the client's interest at heart. IPO PANG is ready to work on behalf of the aggrieved by leveraging its relationship and experience in working with the relevant authorities to enforce those rights through litigation as well as through factory raids and product confiscation.