Dealing with Counterfeiters in China’s Cosmetics Market

cosmeticsDespite major improvements in China’s IP laws and regulations in recent years, counterfeiting is still commonplace in the country and European SMEs wishing to do business in China need to adopt robust IP strategies in order to succeed on China’s lucrative market. In today’s blog post, we are taking a closer look at what are some extra IP protection measures besides registering your IP in China that European SMEs, engaged in cosmetics industry, can take to minimize the risks of counterfeiting. 

Introduction

As with companies in any economic sectors, cosmetics firms have much to gain from early protection of their IPR. Registering IP with Chinese authorities and customs before beginning any type of business activity in the country potentially saves SMEs lot of money as being able to build strong cases against any local firms which may try to steal their IP is only possible when IP is registered in China. Many would-be infringers, however, will move straight to counterfeiting and begin to create knockoff products in the hopes of profiting from SMEs hard work. In these cases, early IP registration is not always enough. Instead, complementary to early IP registrations, SMEs should also adopt a strategy which seeks to defeat counterfeiters through both attrition (by making counterfeiting extremely difficult to accomplish) and offensive action (by coordinating with authorities to conduct raids and launch investigations to halt infringement).

“Soft” Prevention Methods: IPR registrations, online sweeps, and consumer education

An SME’s first step in fighting counterfeiting should always be prevention, halting counterfeiters before they have a chance to create fake products, which will erode an SME’s profit margins and public goodwill. To this end, nothing is more effective than registering IP early. Registering trade marks, industrial designs, patents, etc. with the relevant Chinese authorities can give SMEs powerful legal recourses in the case of an infringement. For larger counterfeit manufacturers with proper factories capable of churning out thousands of counterfeit products a day, the risk of seizure of assets by administrative agencies or customs and awards of damages (or jail time) from People’s Courts pose a significant deterrent. Continue reading “Dealing with Counterfeiters in China’s Cosmetics Market” »

Agribusiness in the Philippines: Protecting New Plant Varieties

MC900449051Underpinned by goverment’s support, the agriculture sector is rapidly growing and modernizing in the Philippines. This offers lucrative business opportunities for European agribusinesses as their technology becomes in high demand. However, IPR violations like counterfeiting are still a major problem in the Philippines and thus European SMEs need to have a robust IPR protection strategy in place when planning to do business in the Philippines. Today’s blog post is taking a look at the new plant varieties protection, something that is of utmost importance to agribusinesses engaged in breeding plants. SMEs will learn what they can do to protect their new plant varieties in the Philippines and how to enforce their rights in case of an infringement. 

The agricultural sector is a major part of the Philippines economy: it makes up around 11% of GDP and employs about a third of the country’s workforce. The Philippines is home to a wide variety of indigenous agricultural products and constitutes a fertile environment that can host a diverse range of plant varieties. There also exists a large a gap in the application of innovative farming practices and the use of new specialised plant varieties, partly highlighted by the Philippines joining the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) which is now driving producers to adopt new practices to compete with imports and achieve profitable exports. Furthermore, the Philippines Agribusiness Strategy aims at transforming and upgrading the agriculture sector from traditional farming to agribusiness or industrial clusters to take advantage of opportunities in rubber, coconut, mangoes, bananas, coffee, palm oil, cacao, and other emerging high value crops[1].

Although, the Philippines is more popularly known for the production of regional tropical fruit (it is the world’s largest producer of both coconuts and pineapples), the Philippines has historically played a significant role in agricultural innovations. The International Rice Research Institute is based in Los Baños, Laguna, and took a prominent role in the development of new high-yield rice varieties during the Green Revolution, with the country now standing as the eighth largest producer in the world[2]. However, in recent years private enterprise has increasingly been the source of innovation and accordingly the need for adequate protection of innovations has been a growing concern. Continue reading “Agribusiness in the Philippines: Protecting New Plant Varieties” »

IPR Protection Strategies in China for the Mechanical Engineering Sector

Manufacture5Underpinned by the Chinese Government’s ambitious Manufacturing 2015 Plan, mechanical engineering sector is expected to offer many lucrative business opportunities in China for the European SMEs in the near future. SMEs wishing to do business in China should keep in mind that despite recent improvements in Chinese IP laws, counterfeiting and other IP infringements are still commonplace in China. Thus, European SMEs need to have a good IP protection strategy in place when entering China’s market. In today’s blog post we are taking a look at IP issues specific to the mechanical engineering sector and offer some first-hand advice on how you can protect your IP in China. 

China’s economic success has been built on manufacturing on a massive scale and despite the economic slow-down, manufacturing is still growing. For example, in the five years to 2015, electrical equipment and machinery manufacturing revenue has been increasing 10.1% annually to EUR 7.8 billion[1].

This has made China’s demand for machinery, tools and related technologies insatiable, making it a potential marketplace for Europe’s high quality products and innovative technologies.

Mechanical engineering sector is expected to see increased growth and opportunities for the European SMEs in the coming years as Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has recently unveiled its Manufacturing 2025 Plan, which aims at lifting china from the ‘big industrial country’ to the ‘powerful industrial country’. Manufacturing 2025 Plan aims at upgrading China’s manufacturing industry by making greater use of technologies like cloud computing. Manufacturing 2025 Plan is especially beneficial for the mechanical engineering sector as the government has chosen many relative industries like automated machine tools and robotics, aerospace and aeronautical equipment, new-energy and power equipment and agricultural equipment as some of the leading industries for the Plan.  These are also the areas, where European SMEs can expect most opportunities.

Unfortunately, IP infringements are still rampant in China. However, as China’s market develops, legislators and enforcement authorities have made progress in updating IPR practices and educating Chinese manufacturers. As a result, patent applications have rocketed and new IP registration procedures and IPR courts have made application and enforcement of IP rights more accessible for foreign actors. Furthermore, the Manufacturing 2025 Plan is expected to further improve the IPR environment.   Continue reading “IPR Protection Strategies in China for the Mechanical Engineering Sector” »

Trade Mark Protection in Brunei Darussalam

shutterstock_152628707Last week we learned about Patent protection in Brunei Darussalam. To give you the complete overview of basic IP rights in the country, today’s blog post discusses Trade Mark protection in Brunei Darussalam. You will learn how to register your Trade Mark in Brunei Darussalam, which is very important, as IP right are territorial and your European Trade Mark is not automatically protected in Brunei Darussalam. You will also learn what IP protection is available in Brunei Darussalam for your Trade Mark and what you can do in the case of an IP 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. Brunei Darussalam is currently in talks to join the Madrid Protocol in the near future.

Trade Marks in Brunei Darussalam

Brunei Darussalam functions under the first-to-file system, which means that the first person who registers a trade mark in Brunei Darussalam, will have the right to that trade mark regardless of the trade mark’s first use. To be eligible for registration, a trademark must be visually perceptible and capable of being represented graphically. This means that the current Trade Mark Act would not recognize sounds and smells as trade marks. Continue reading “Trade Mark Protection in Brunei Darussalam” »

Infographic: IPR Protection Strategies in China for the Food Safety Industry

Chinese consumers are becoming increasing health-conscious and start to pay more attention to food safety issues. This creates many lucrative opportunities for the European SMEs as the demand for high-quality European food safety technology is rising in China. However, SMEs should pay attention to protecting their IP rights when entering to the promising market of China because counterfeiting and other IP infringements still persist in the country. For today’s blog post we have chosen to share with you an infographic that will provide you with a basic and easy to read  overview of IP protection in the food safety industry in China. 

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