Doing IP business in China

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Linda Liu offers some advice to European companies on intellectual property protection in China.

Contrary to what many people had predicted, China didn’t experience an economic slump after the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008, but in general maintained rather steady growth; simultaneously, the Chinese government has made active adjustments to the judicial and administrative environments in recent years which enhance the protection of patentees’ rights. Using the policies of “Likonomics”, in other words mainly focusing on getting rid of economic bubbles, adjusting the structure of supplying and distribution and transforming the development mode, the rate of increase in GDP in China in the following years should be around 7% per year instead of reaching the 10% that was achieved in the last 10 years. At the same time the economy should transform from manufacture-dominated to a knowledge-driven pattern, with intellectual support from over six million graduates from Chinese universities every year. Simultaneously, more and more innovative companies should spring up in China.

Compared with the not so healthy world economy, China has clearly become a star in economic growth and is seen as an ideal investment object, attracting worldwide attention. Owing to this we can expect that more and more Chinese companies will file patents in foreign countries using the Paris Convention or PCT, and it will lead to more intense competition in IP within the Chinese mainland in the future; hence it is advisable for foreign companies to establish a patent portfolio in China as early as possible.

Patent application statistics confirm this trend. The statistics released by the Patent Office for the first half of 2013 indicate that even today, when the Sino-Japan relationship is rather unclear, Japanese applications in China are still increasing at a rate of up to 10% every year. Based on the above, we believe that more and more European companies are willing to start doing business in China. Thus, the protection of intellectual property will be very important as it fulfills its role as a strong weapon in supporting the business. Herewith we would love to share some advice with European companies on IP protection in China, and hope that it will be of some help.

Making full use of China’s IP system
China’s IP system mainly includes patents, trademarks and copyright. Generally speaking, for all three types of rights, it is recommended to actively file applications to get the necessary rights as early as possible. Here we take copyright, utility models and designs as examples to illustrate our advice. Request a free trial to read more.