Protecting your Festive Design in China: Design Patents and Copyrights

design-for-christmasThe Christmas Holidays are upon us again and it’s time to put up Christmas decorations. Maybe this year your company came up with new design for Christmas stockings, Christmas lights or other Christmas decorations. Maybe your company also plans to benefit from China’s growing market, or maybe you would like to produce these decorations in China, either way, all-around festive atmosphere should not make you forget about counterfeiting and other IP violations that are still  commonplace in China. It is important to obtain design patents in China to protect your product design, whatever your company may be producing. In today’s blog post we are taking a closer look to design patents in China. 

Due to the difference in regional systems, many European companies do not know how to protect their product designs in China. While in Europe you can seek protection for an original work as either a registered or unregistered community design, in China designs fall under the scope of patent protection, while no protection is offered to unregistered designs.

A design patent provides the right holder to exclusive use of a product design for a period of 10 years. As well as providing a legal basis to fight counterfeiters, a design patent also allows you to generate additional revenue by licensing the design to third parties. Continue reading “Protecting your Festive Design in China: Design Patents and Copyrights” »

Copyright Protection in Brunei Darussalam

shutterstock_176603774In today’s blog post we are taking a look at the copyright protection in Brunei Darussalam, the smallest nation in ASEAN. You’ll learn how to protect your copyright and what actions are there available in the case of a copyright infringement. 

Background for EU SMEs

Brunei Darussalam is one of the 10 countries of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN).  Despite being one of the smallest ASEAN countries, it is also one of the wealthiest nations in the South-East Asian region. Brunei Darussalam has an annual GDP of EUR 10.6 billion[1] and most of its revenue comes from the exports of crude oil and natural gas.

The European Union is Brunei Darussalam’s 5th largest trading partner. The EU’s Key exports to Brunei Darussalam include pearls, precious metals, transport equipment and machinery and appliances. The EU’s key imports from Brunei Darussalam include machinery and appliances, optical and photographic instruments, pearls and precious metals.

Brunei Darussalam’s legal system is based on English Common Law and since the year 2000, Brunei Darussalam has passed various legislations on trade marks, industrial designs, copyright and patents. Brunei Darussalam’s IP legal system is in compliance with international standards, complying with international agreements and treaties administered by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO). It is a member of a number of conventions including the Paris Convention, the Berne Convention, the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) and the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs. Brunei Darussalam is also a signatory of the TRIPS agreement. Continue reading “Copyright Protection in Brunei Darussalam” »

Registering New Top Level Domain Names in China

shutterstock_167099189E-commerce is rapidly growing in China with Chinese consumers already making up for almost half of global online retail sales. This development offers lots of lucrative business opportunities for European SMEs. When entering Chinese market, a Chinese top level domain name often helps to attract customers. In today’s blog post we therefore focus again on top level domain names’ registration in China. 

Internet usage is booming in China. With more than 701 million ‘netizens’ (as of December  2016), China connects more people to the Internet than any other country. In fact, every fourth person on the Internet is from China. Facilitated by the increasing availability of broadband technology and the growing trend towards online shopping and purchasing, the Internet is an attractive business and marketing platform for many European SMEs. The China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) has also now removed barriers to overseas companies and individuals to register domain names in China, and it is recommended that European SMEs take advantage of this if they are planning on entering the Chinese market or are already in China.

New and Less Restricted Domain Name Requirements

From May 2012, .cn and .中国 domain name registrations became available again for private individual registrations (both Chinese and overseas). The process takes a few weeks and currently costs €50-€100.

The following steps are required:

  • Translate your domain names into Chinese and find an accredited registrar using either of these sources (domain name registration must be completed through an accredited registrar).

Continue reading “Registering New Top Level Domain Names in China” »

Explaining the New Regulations of Foreign Contractor Withholding Tax on Trade Marks in Vietnam

shutterstock_81193486-520x345In today’s blog post we asked our IP expert Mr. Son Doan to clarify the provisions of the Official Letter on taxing the transfer of the right to use trade marks, issued by the Ministry of  Finance of Vietnam. 

On 7 November 2016 the Ministry of Finance of Vietnam issued the Official Letter 15888/BCT-CST to provide detailed guidance on foreign contractor withholding tax (FCWT) applicable to income of foreign contractors from transfer of right to use a trade mark. According to the Official Letter:

  • Pursuant to the Law on Intellectual Property, when a Vietnamese party uses a trade mark and makes payments to a foreign party for the transfer of use right, this should be considered as transfer of the right to use a trade marks in accordance with the Law on Intellectual Property, distinguishable from the assignment intellectual property rights.
  • As a result the income of foreign contractors from transfer of the rights to use a trade mark should be subject to FCWT with applicable tax rates as follows:
    • CIT rate on taxable revenue is 10%
    • VAT rate is 10% (if foreign contractor declare VAT under the credit method) or 5% (if foreign contractors declare VAT under the deemed method).

This means that if a foreign owner fully transfers the ownership of a trade mark to a Vietnamese party, there will be no taxes applied. However, if the foreign company merely grants the right to use the brand to the local Vietnamese businesses, then Vietnam tax authorities will collect the CIT and also the VAT.  Continue reading “Explaining the New Regulations of Foreign Contractor Withholding Tax on Trade Marks in Vietnam” »

Patent Protection Case Study: The Importance of a Robust IP Enforcement Strategy

shutterstock_166598477_blueEnforcing your patent rights in China could oftentimes be challenging as counterfeiters are also getting smarter and more innovative over time. However, if a European SME has a good IP enforcement strategy in place, it is possible to successfully defend your business against patent infringers. In today’s blog post we are taking a look at a case study involving a Spanish SMEs that experienced some issues with patent infringements. This case study shows the importance of a good IP enforcement strategy for the business success.

Case Background 

A Spanish SME in the scientific research and development industry has patents around the world and in China on certain cutting edge surgical instruments. At an international exposition of surgical instruments the Spanish Company discovers a Chinese company advertising their patented products under the name of the Chinese company. The Spanish company obtains flyers and photos of the products. However, the Spanish company is also concerned that the Chinese company might have defensive utility model patents in place. Since, utility model patents are approved quickly (usually within one year) and do require official examination on novelty, inventiveness and industrial applicability, this could potentially bar the Spanish company from entering the Chinese market. Continue reading “Patent Protection Case Study: The Importance of a Robust IP Enforcement Strategy” »