IP Protection in China for the Food & Beverages Sector: Focus on GIs

gi-pictureLast week China IPR SME Helpdesk organized an exciting webinar on IP protection in the food and beverages sector, focusing on the protection of Geographic Indications. As the topic was very popular, we decided to follow it up with a blog post, focusing on the protection of GIs. The blog post gives an overview of the GIs’ protection in China and offers some advice on how to register GIs. 

Food and Beverages Sector in China

The food and beverage (F&B) industry encompasses the formulation, processing, production, distribution in wholesale or retail, and delivery of food products.  Recent research shows that an increasing number of European F&B SMEs are making significant investments in emerging East Asian markets, particularly China, with new local product development and national business strategies. While this continues, changes are occurring in the industry that is redefining how companies grow, operate, and manage risk. Intellectual property rights (IPR) are a key component of these developments, thus increasing the need to protect those rights in several countries.

When it comes to Chinese Laws and Regulations, the F&B industry is a highly regulated sector. Foreign companies need to apply for a food production license to ensure that they meet the requirements for manufacturing capabilities and environmental regulations. Foreign products need to conform to specific standards and protocols depending on the type of products. Chinese labels need to be applied to the products to complete the Customs clearance and enter the country. In addition, a separate food and beverage distribution license is required to sell in China. Continue reading “IP Protection in China for the Food & Beverages Sector: Focus on GIs” »

Patent Prosecution Highway Pilot Program and Patent Information Data Exchange Between Vietnam and Japan

patent-prosecution-highwayToday’s blog post has been kindly drafted for us by our IPR experts Mr. Max Ng and  Ms. Amira Nabila Budiyano from the Gateway Law Corporation, who will discuss the Patent Prosecution Highway Pilot Program between Vietnam and Japan. The Patent Prosecution Highway Pilot Program is important as it can accelerate the examination of patent applications in Vietnam. The experts will explain how the Patent Prosecution Highway works and how SMEs from Europe and around the world can benefit from the program.  


One of the problems currently faced by the National Office of Intellectual Property of Vietnam (“NOIP”) is the increasing backlog of patent applications, which is one of the main reasons for the delayed examination of patent applications in Vietnam. This may adversely affect the quality of patent examination, as the bigger the backlog, the less time the examiners would have for reviewing the patent applications. The backlog of patent applications may further hinder the innovation process of the country while also posing a real concern to foreign businesses and investors wanting to venture into the Vietnam market. The Patent Prosecution Highway Pilot Program between the NOIP and the Japan Patent Office (“JPO”), which came into effect on 1 April 2016, is therefore a much welcomed move by the NOIP to cope with the increasing backlog and accelerate examination of patent applications in Vietnam. Continue reading “Patent Prosecution Highway Pilot Program and Patent Information Data Exchange Between Vietnam and Japan” »

Copyright Protection in Cambodia


copyright_lockThis week we will continue the basic IPR series for Cambodia and  focus on the copyright protection. Today’s blog post gives a general overview of copyright protection in Cambodia and discusses the importance of voluntarily registering your copyright. You will  also find information on how to enforce your copyright in the unfortunate case of copyright infringement. 

Copyright in Cambodia

Copyright is an intellectual property right that protects creations of the mind. These rights, generally, include: copying; publishing; translating; adapting and altering; distributing; etc. and are granted automatically following the creation of the work.

The Cambodian Copyright Law grants the exclusive legal right to authors and other right holders to exploit their “works, production of cultural products, performances, phonograms, and transmissions of broadcasting organizations”.

Even though, copyright normally enjoys automatic protection in most South-East Asian countries from the moment of its creation, the European SMEs should keep in mind that this is not always the case in Cambodia. Foreign works do not enjoy automatic protection in Cambodia, even though Cambodia is a member of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). As not all Cambodia’s national laws are yet in accordance to the TRIPS regulations, Cambodia currently does not grant similar protection to foreign works as it does for Cambodian works. Cambodia has to comply with the TRIPS agreement by 2021. Continue reading “Copyright Protection in Cambodia” »

IP Protection in China for the Cosmetics Industry

cosmeticsToday’s blog post focuses on the  cosmetics industry – one of the fast-growing industries in China – discussing the IP issues relating to patent protection, trade mark protection and design protection. As counterfeiting in cosmetics is still a big issue in China and failing to protect your IP can sometimes mean the end of the business endeavor to China, it is  wise to have a robust IP protection strategy in place. Today’s blog post introduces European SMEs the tools they can use to build a good IP protection strategy in the cosmetics industry in China. 

In recent years, due to the expansion of China’s middle class, increased interest in personal care has led to the rapid development of the cosmetics industry. In addition, the adjustment of the tariff system in China and the rise of e-commerce platforms like Taobao or Jindong also contributed to the sales of cosmetics products. The industry shows an annual growth of 12% and broke the RMB 200 billion mark of sales volume in 2015[1]. The most successful products are skincare products, including moisturisers and masks, products safe for children, anti-aging products, spot-removal products, and sunscreen and whitening products.

In this market, image and trustworthiness are paramount. Chinese cosmetics consumers are more resilient to advertising and increasing influenced by peer recommendations, meaning that consistent, favorable mentions through social media such as WeChat groups are the pillars of sales growth. At the same time, the production and sale of fake and inferior products continues to be prevalent on the Chinese market – despite recent campaigns and targeted efforts of the Chinese government. Particularly, due to their popularity and high quality, overseas cosmetics brands are the usual victims of counterfeiting[2]. The infringement acts are mainly trade mark and outer packaging imitation, and customers consequently confuse the authentic and counterfeit products, leading to loss of sales, reputation and oftentimes product liability issues. Thus, for cosmetics enterprises, wishing to enter to China, it is still very important to have a robust IP strategy in place. Continue reading “IP Protection in China for the Cosmetics Industry” »

Patent Protection in Cambodia

shutterstock_88533937Last week we discussed trade mark protection in Cambodia, one of the fast growing South-East Asian Countries. With today’s blog post we will continue expanding our IP knowledge on Cambodia and  delve into patent protection, taking a closer look on how to obtain and enforce your patents in Cambodia.  

Patents and Utility Models in Cambodia

Patents are the set of exclusive rights granted to inventors or their assignees to exploit an invention for a limited period of time. The Cambodian Patent Law defines an invention as, “the idea of an inventor which permits in practice the solution to a specific problem in the field of technology.” The law further clarifies that an invention may either be, or relate to, both a product and a process. A product patent (i.e., a patent giving protection to the product as such) gives the patent holder the exclusive right to make, import, sell, offer for sale, use, and stock the product for the purpose of sale or use. A process patent (i.e. a patent granted for a process or a method), gives the patent holder an exclusive right to prevent others from using that process/form.

An invention is patentable if it is novel, involves an inventive step, and is industrially applicable. An invention is novel if it is not disclosed to the public, anywhere in the world, prior to the date of filing the application or the priority date. An invention is considered to involve an inventive step if the invention is not obvious to a person skilled in the art. The industrially applicable requirement means that the invention must have a use in at least one kind of industry. The Patent Law excludes certain types of inventions from patent protection, such as discoveries, scientific theories and mathematical methods. The law also excludes inventions that would be contrary to public order or morality, that would be harmful to human, animal or plant life and that would seriously compromise the environment. Continue reading “Patent Protection in Cambodia” »