Back to the Basics Series: Protecting Trade Secrets in China

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fgjNearly all businesses in all industries and sectors possess trade secrets. Trade secrets are a valuable and highly useful form of intellectual property that are nevertheless often undervalued and overlooked by their owners. This is not least the case in the service sector where the relative value of trade secrets as intangible assets can be extremely high. For example, a logistics firm may not hold any patents or few trade marks and substantial copyrights, but the value of its operations could heavily derive from information contained within client lists and standard procedures.

A considerable advantage for trade secrets is that unlike some other forms of IP rights, such as patents and copyrights that have a finite term, trade secrets can theoretically enjoy an infinite term of protection so long as the trade secret remains just that – a secret. The main difference between protecting something by patent or as a trade secret is that, while technical information is publicly disclosed in patents, it is kept away from the public eye in trade secrets. A trade secret can last forever as long as the confidentiality measures that protect it continue to work. An invention patent typically expires after 20 years.

On the other hand, legal protection of trade secrets is easily lost. Once the information becomes public information, it no longer enjoys any legal protection. As a result, prevention is the golden rule when it comes to protecting your trade secrets, because once your secret is out, there is usually very little that you can do about it. China, like most other countries, provides a legal framework for the protection for trade secrets, and the law provides for remedies in the event that your trade secrets are unlawfully disclosed. Part one of this two part article will describe what constitutes a trade secret and outline the measures you can take to protect them. Continue reading “Back to the Basics Series: Protecting Trade Secrets in China” »

Good News! The Chinese Trademark Office is introducing Seven New Services for Trademark Applications.

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shutterstock_81193486-520x345Today our expert Rainy Liu from Beijing Lawconstant shares with us some good  news from the Chinese Trade Mark Office.

As of the 24 March 2016, the Chinese Trademark Office will

  • Issue a new ‘Guide to Common Questions for Trademark Applications’ which will address inquiries relating to the new Chinese Trademark Law.
  • No longer require notarisation of certified documents for trademark applications including; the image or name of celebrities, trademark assignment, revocation and correction of the name or address of foreign applicants.
  • Provide guidelines and explanations detailing appropriate responses to ‘official actions’.

Continue reading “Good News! The Chinese Trademark Office is introducing Seven New Services for Trademark Applications.” »

The ASEAN Economic Community and What it means for Intellectual Property

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Page 3It is still common in the West to encounter confusion or lack of recognition of the ‘ASEAN’ acronym that groups the Southeast Asian nations. Not surprising really, given that there have been few memorable ASEAN events of consequence for foreign businesses over its near 50 year history. Up until now, for most it has stood for more as an ‘on paper’ political union over any great effects on international business.

This is set to change, as in 2015 the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) was officially fully established. In some ways similar to the economic unity of the EU, the broad aims of the AEC are to develop (1) a single market and production base, (2) a region of more equitable economic development, and (3) a globally integrated economic region. To achieve these, trade barriers will be removed or reduced and standards across a number of sectors (i.e. cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, agricultural products, and medical devices) will be harmonised. Continue reading “The ASEAN Economic Community and What it means for Intellectual Property” »

Tips for Protecting your Brand in South-East Asia

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Business in South-East Asia – the facts and figures

Economic growth in South-East Asia has been, and is likely to remain strong. As its Thailandeconomies have shifted from exports to a broader base of growth drivers, both consumption and investment in the region has soared[1].

Between 2015 and 2019, it is predicted that the ten ASEAN nations (Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam) will experience 5.6% GDP growth on average, with business fueling much of the growth in the region[2].

This region is increasingly attractive for international trade and foreign investment, due to rising domestic demand for foreign products. Among the most promising sectors for European companies in South-East Asia are electronics, automotive components, mechanical engineering (machinery), IT/software, food processing and leisure and tourism. Continue reading “Tips for Protecting your Brand in South-East Asia” »

Top 3 IPR mistakes for SMEs in South-East Asia

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shutterstock_182269964A wide range of foreign industries are now looking to Southeast Asia not just to take advantage of an abundance of cheap labour for exportables, but also to tap into new consumer markets formed from a growing middle-class population. While these opportunities can lead to substantial returns for European businesses, via both the production and sales side, the less developed nature of business-related legislation means the dangers of intellectual property (IP) infringement are often great.

There are very few SMEs who would not take the issue of intellectual property rights (IPR) seriously in their business strategies, nevertheless there are some issues that are commonly overlooked and can even lead to commercial disaster. Here we take a look, in no particular order, at the top 3 IPR mistakes SMEs make… Continue reading “Top 3 IPR mistakes for SMEs in South-East Asia” »