Back to the Basics Series: Copyright Protection in China

shutterstock_107811341Last week we refreshed our memories about the basic Copyright protection in South-East Asia and as copyright issues are still fresh in our minds, it is now a good time to also delve into copyright issues in China. Today’s blog post thus gives a good basic overview of the Copyright protection in China. 

Today, intellectual property rights have a strong footing in China, despite the persistence of media accounts suggesting otherwise. There are dedicated IP courts in major cities and litigation by foreign companies is frequently successful.

China is now making significant headway in the cultural and high-tech industries, where copyright is the key. One example is the book industry, with sales increasing by over 30% from 2013 to 2014. Another new industry is the mobile app industry, now worth over $8.7 billion (2015), with small domestic start-ups relying on copyright to safeguard them in a market where less cautious foreign app developers have been overtaken by copycats. Continue reading “Back to the Basics Series: Copyright Protection in China” »

Copyright Protection in South-East Asia

copyright, page 2As the summer vacation is almost over it’s time to refresh our memories about the basic IPR protection. Today’s blog post discusses copyright protection in South-East Asia, pointing out some of the main differences in all 10 ASEAN nations.  

Copyright entitles the owners of literary and artistic works to a set of exclusive rights over their works. These rights include copying, translating, adapting and altering, communicating and performing to the public, distributing, renting and lending copies of the copyrighted works.

However, copyright is relevant to almost every business across all sectors, not just those in the creative industry. Businesses in all industries should take appropriate steps to identify existing copyrights and consider registering the most important to them. Adequate copyright protection should form an integral part of a solid overall business strategy.

What can be protected by copyright?

Copyright protects the tangible expression of an idea, but not the idea itself. SMEs can protect books, journals, instruction manuals, musical works, drawings and illustrations, computer programs, software and websites, architectural drawings and databases, etc. by copyright.  Continue reading “Copyright Protection in South-East Asia” »

How to Conduct a Trade Mark Search in China

shutterstock_81193486-520x345Before even starting to prepare your trade mark registration application in China, it is vital to be sure that an identical or similar trade mark hasn’t been already registered in China. Today’s blog post is a step-by-step guide to how to use the China Trade Mark Office (CTMO) database to conduct preliminary trade mark research yourself.

Every company, no matter how big or small, has some intellectual property (IP). The most common type of IP right is a trade mark. A trade mark is essential to all kinds of companies, whether you are a producer, distributor or service provider, as it allows clients to distinguish you from your competitors and builds the image and reputation of your brand.

International laws, including Chinese laws, grant legal protection to trade marks providing they comply with a few basic requirements: the mark must be distinctive; must not have previously been used by others in the same market; and must not describe the product, e.g. you cannot register ‘apple’ as a trade mark for apples.

Trade marks are territorial in nature and therefore must be registered in every country. A trade mark registered in Spain, for example, is not automatically valid in China. If you want to obtain protection in China you must register with the China Trade Mark Office (CTMO) either by directly filing a domestic application or by filing an international extension through the Madrid System. Continue reading “How to Conduct a Trade Mark Search in China” »

IP Considerations for App Developers in South-East Asia

8585049088_9d1dbcdf1f_kAs the market for smartphones is rapidly growing in South-East Asia and many European companies wish to enter the lucrative market of apps, it is time to take a look at how the European SMEs can best protect their valuable intellectual property when entering the South-East Asian markets. 

In a world of increasingly affordable smartphone technology and rapidly expanding connectivity, the digital marketplace makes room for new players on the scene: the app developers. Third party’s apps have become a core part of the smartphone package, providing users with almost limitless potential for productivity, utility, education and leisure, and apps serving as a huge part of smartphone marketing strategy and user attraction.

With the number of smartphones overtaking non-smartphones back in 2013 and total worldwide app related revenues set to top $45 billion this year, app development is an increasingly attractive industry for software producers. Continue reading “IP Considerations for App Developers in South-East Asia” »

Trade Marks vs Enterprise Names in China: What’s the Difference?

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shutterstock_152628707Should I only register my trade mark in China or should I also register my enterprise name? What’s the difference? In today’s blog post we will take a closer look at the difference between SMEs’ enterprise names and their trade marks and give advice on how to adequately protect both in China. 

What do trade marks and enterprise names look like? 

Both trade marks and enterprise names are commercial marks. They function as signs, through which businesses and their products can be identified by their consumers.

Trade marks are used specifically to distinguish commercial products from other products on the market. They come in many varieties, including words, images, colour combinations and sounds.

Take the familiar case of an iPhone. Everything from its name to its message tone is trademarked. This prevents other companies from copying the brand, so that consumers can easily identify genuine iPhone products from other products in the sector. Continue reading “Trade Marks vs Enterprise Names in China: What’s the Difference?” »