Dealing with Partners and Employees: Writing a Good Manufacturing Non-disclosure Agreement in China

MP900438585There are various ways in which European SMEs can protect their IP. The most obvious way is to register IP in the country where SMEs do business in. At the same time, another, sometimes overlooked, way to protect IP is using well-written contracts. The people and companies that SMEs do business with in China, and therefore contract with, will often use the European SMEs’ IP to varying degrees. Therefore, it is also very important for the European SMEs to protect their IP with well-written manufacturing contracts. Today’s blog post gives some  practical tips on how to write good manufacturing non-disclosure agreements for doing business in China. 

Defining protected information: keeping everyone on the same page

NNN agreements should clearly define which rights are being disclosed or licensed, their nature, and their scope. Clear mechanisms for identifying and marking, accounting for, and maintaining secrecy for this information (or indications of who will bear these responsibilities, what general types of information should be considered confidential, or processes for retroactively marking material as confidential) should be present. If desired, additional clauses can also outline what types of information will not be considered confidential. Naturally, before these types of information can be identified, an SME should first understand just what its trade secrets are. Conducting an IP assessment and audit can identify key IP which was otherwise taken for granted or not fully appreciated by the SME and can assign a value to the IP which will make calculating contract damages much easier.

While the contract is in force, these rules should be strictly followed. Over the course of the contract, additional IP may be generated as a result of the work of employees or independent innovations on the part of the manufacturer. NNN agreements can also include clauses which dictate that all such IP belongs to the SME and can thereby avoid future disputes. Note, however, that China places restrictions on the export of some technology—meaning that agreements automatically granting new IP to the SME could be struck down in court. Continue reading “Dealing with Partners and Employees: Writing a Good Manufacturing Non-disclosure Agreement in China” »

IP Protection in Thailand for the Tourism Industry

shutterstock_85716494As the summer is fast approaching, many European companies engaged in tourism industry are looking for opportunities to expand their business into South-East Asian countries. Thailand, for example, offers many promising business opportunities for the European SMEs in tourism industry as tourism is one of the fastest growing industries in there. However, European SMEs should not let the summer’s heat take their focus away from IP protection when planning their move to Thailand, because IPR infringements are still commonplace in Thailand. Today’s blog post, thus, discusses IP Protection in Thailand, focusing particularly on the tourism industry.

Tourism industry in Thailand continues to offer many lucrative opportunities to European SMEs as Thailand remains one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Asia Pacific region due to its white sandy beaches, abundant tropical nature, inexpensive accommodation and well-developed transport and communication infrastructure. Underpinned by government’s and private sector stakeholders’ recent efforts to market Thailand around the globe, the industry has grown to become one of the country’s most productive and sustainable industries, contributing a total of EUR 69bn towards the economy in 2014, making up more than 19% of the GDP of Thailand.[1]

SMEs engaged in tourism need to pay special attention to protecting their intellectual property (IP) rights, because despite recent improvements in Thailand’s IP legal framework, IP infringements are still relatively common in the country. IP rights are a key factor for business success and neglecting to register them in Thailand could easily end SMEs’ business endeavor in the country. Thus, a robust IPR strategy is needed, when entering the lucrative market of Thailand.  Continue reading “IP Protection in Thailand for the Tourism Industry” »

Drug Innovation through Better Enforcement: IPR Protection in the Pharmaceutical Industry in China

singapore-desig_20936179_291437f5e9d7dd7c8ce0b4b67e7eddf6629f8e0d (1)Underpinned by the governmental support, the pharmaceutical industry is booming in China, offering some promising business opportunities for the European SMEs. However, despite the improvements in Chinese IP laws and regulations, IP infringements are still commonplace in China. Thus, European SMEs wishing to do business in the pharmaceutical sector in  China need to pay attention to IP issues. Today’s blog post discusses IP protection measures in the Pharmaceutical industry, focusing especially on patents and trade secrets as the main IP protection measures in the Pharmaceutical Industry. 

IP Protection in the Pharmaceutical Industry

China is one of the largest pharmaceutical markets in the world. Its development is high on the government’s reform agenda, as they seek to provide stimulus and intensify research and development (R&D) activity. This, coupled with enhanced health awareness among a rapidly growing patient pool, makes the country an increasingly attractive market for foreign business. The China IPR SME Helpdesk explains the current intellectual property regime in China, and says that better enforcement will create a more secure environment that can attract more R&D and stimulate higher levels of innovation in China’s pharmaceutical industry.

The level of intellectual property (IP) enforcement in China has constrained pharmaceutical companies’ efforts in carrying out R&D activities in the country. However, China’s Patent Law is soon due to be revised, and is expected to foster greater innovation and slow the proliferation of counterfeit drugs. A growing number of companies have become increasingly attracted to having an R&D center in China, as a local presence provides generally lower cost base and favorable tax rates.

Patents

China’s Patent Law protects technological innovations for active pharmaceutical ingredients, drug combinations, pharmaceutical formulations, preparation processes of pharmaceutical products, new medical indications of a known drug and medical devices, among others. Most pharmaceutical innovations are protected by invention patents which provide 20 years’ protection. Continue reading “Drug Innovation through Better Enforcement: IPR Protection in the Pharmaceutical Industry in China” »

Using Customs to Fight Counterfeiting in Singapore: A Case Study

shutterstock_118547785The Customs can often work as the first line of defense, when companies are dealing with counterfeiters. However, not many SMEs are aware of the different cooperation opportunities with the customs. Thus, today’s blog post focuses on how the SMEs can use the customs in order to protect their IP in Singapore, one of the busiest ports in the  world. In order to give practical advice , the blog-post discusses a case-study on customs cooperation in Singapore. 

Singapore’s port is one of the world’s busiest ports and therefore a major transit point for imports and exports between Europe and Asia. EU exporters in a number of sectors have set up distribution centers in Singapore’s harbor from where they serve the wider region. As Singapore’s port is a major transport hub, it is also at high risk of shipments of counterfeits. To promote vigilance and bolster the safety and security of trade, the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (ESFTA) contains provisions to strengthen cooperation in the field of Customs. In particular, the ESFTA will facilitate the granting of assistance based on reasonable suspicion of an operation being in breach of customs legislation and will promote greater exchange of information between authorities.

European SMEs can liaise with Customs to fight against counterfeiting of their products. The Singapore Customs is a governmental agency of the Ministry of Finance and their objective is the implementation of customs and trade enforcement measures including the checking and detainment of suspected infringing goods crossing the border. The Singapore Customs has the authority to detain imports, exports and re-exports of IPR- infringing goods. Continue reading “Using Customs to Fight Counterfeiting in Singapore: A Case Study” »