WIPO Launches New Publication Series; China is First Contributor

Capture

The World Intellectual Property Organization has published the first edition in a new publication series collecting landmark intellectual property (IP) judgments from some of the most dynamic litigation jurisdictions around the world.

The “WIPO Collection of Leading Judgments on Intellectual Property” series aims to illustrate IP adjudication approaches and trends, by jurisdiction or theme in each volume.

The first title is a joint publication with the Supreme People’s Court (SPC) of the People’s Republic of China. It features 30 representative judgments rendered by the SPC between 2011 and 2018, presented in both Chinese and English. These decisions, selected by the SPC, exemplify recent judicial adjudication in the areas of copyright, trademarks, patents, trade secrets, new plant varieties, integrated circuit layout designs, monopoly and competition, and criminal enforcement of IP rights.

The publication is part of WIPO’s efforts in the area of the judicial administration of IP, led by the WIPO Judicial Institute, to engage judges from around the world as they share experiences on the common challenges they face and discuss new subject matters and concepts.

Continue reading on the WIPO’s website.

Baby products brand Beaba sues copycats for using ‘BEABA’ logo on baby diapers

Beaba, a famous baby products brand, recently filed before the Hangzhou Internet Court a civil action for copyright infringement and unfair competition action against four defendants for their unlawful use of Beaba’s special-designed logo “BEABA” on the latter’s baby diaper products.

No alt text provided for this image

In said action, Beaba claims that it has been producing baby feeding and baby food preparation products since its establishment in 1989 in France, and had entered the Chinese market since 2010. Since its establishment, Beaba has originally created and has used the special-designed logo “BEABA” on their baby products, and therefore enjoys the copyright over the same. Meanwhile, Beaba’s special-designed logo “BEABA” and its enterprise name “Beaba” has gained a high degree of popularity and reputation.

Beaba claims that, without their authorization, four Chinese companies have sold baby diaper products bearing the “BEABA” logo.

Given this, Beaba filed an action for copyright infringement and unfair competition before the Hangzhou Internet Court alleging that, the defendants’ unauthorized use of the “BEABA” logo which is identical or highly similar to Beaba’s logo on baby diaper has infringed Beaba’s copyright. Moreover, as Beaba’s enterprise name “Beaba” has gained a high degree of popularity and reputation, such enterprise name should be protected under Article 6 of the Unfair Competition Law, and the defendants’ use of the characters “BEABA” may mislead the public, thereby amounting to unfair competition in accordance with Article 6 of the Unfair Competition Law. Beaba likewise demands that the defendants cease and desist from their infringing activity and to pay RMB 3 million in damages. Continue reading “Baby products brand Beaba sues copycats for using ‘BEABA’ logo on baby diapers” »

OEM Manufacturing and Trademark Infringement in China

“Made in China 2025” policy forced Supreme People’s Court to Change Direction on OEM Manufacturing Exception to Trademark Infringement

Introduction

For years Western companies have relied on Chinese factories to manufacture their products at low cost and export them back to other markets to be sold with high margin of profit. This is normally referred to as OEM manufacturing, where OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer. This was for decades the main business model for China’s industrial and economic development and it earned China the nickname of “World’s Factory”. In recent years, things have changed. China is now a market with hundreds of millions of consumers buying foreign products online or traveling and shopping abroad, while cheap manufacturing is moving elsewhere to be replaced by High-Tech businesses. In this evolving socio-economic landscape, OEM manufacturing has lost its prior standing in the government policies. China is now projected towards a further integration of its economy into the global capital system. Aside from the already renown “Belt & Road” initiative, China has recently launched “Made in China 2025”, a new grand plan to showcase China’s own brands and industries to the world and move away from being the world’s “factory” to an economy producing higher value products and services.

This policy change embodied in the “Made in China 2025” program, is also reflected in the recent legal developments concerning the relation between OEM manufacturing and trademark infringement. This article will explore the evolution of such relation and will comment on the most recent leading decision on this topic issued by the Supreme People’s Court this October 2019.

Continue reading “OEM Manufacturing and Trademark Infringement in China” »

Case Study: Protecting Design and Innovation in China

shutterstock_385731427In today’s blog post we are discussing design protection in China. We have chosen the case of a popular anti-pollution mask company Vogmask to explain the importance of also protecting the appearance of your products when doing business in China.

Innovative technology that is used in consumer products can be protected under invention or design patents in China, but this will not offer 100% protection against others illegally using the innovations in knock-off products, particularly while the patent is still pending. However, when it comes to products with functional technology, consumers are sensitive to quality. It is therefore beneficial to think about other ways to convince potential customers that your goods are the best in the market. Updating designs can serve to compliment technical innovation and keep a product ahead of those trying to emulate or imitate.

Vogmask is a popular anti-pollution mask product available in China, using an innovative microfiber filtration fabric. Christopher Dobbing founded Vogmask China in 2013. Originally an education consultant, he found that most students he worked with mentioned air pollution as a major challenge for China in the next 10 years, and that many of them had breathing illnesses or carried an inhaler with them. While searching for a good quality mask that he could recommend to students, Christopher got in touch with Vogmask USA. Vogmask UK and Vogmask China were founded shortly after. Continue reading “Case Study: Protecting Design and Innovation in China” »

An Introduction to Intellectual Property Protection and Enforcement in China and South-East Asia

Quote

This article is written by our China IP Expert, Ms Alessandra Chies, on the occasion of the Texworld Trade Fair, the No.1 European Trade Fair for Worldwide Apparel Sourcing which this year took place in Paris on 18-21 September. It gathered over 600 international suppliers, companies and EU SMEs, as well as about 950 fabrics manufacturers from 27 countries. 90px-Aguayos This article provides a concise yet comprehensive introduction to Intellectual Property protection and enforcement in China and South-East Asia, and summarizes the main talking points discussed by Alessandra Chies at Texworld on 18 September 2017. 

Intellectual Property (IP) protection is a primary method for securing a return on investment in innovation, offering to IP owners a competitive edge that others will not have. SMEs invest a tremendous amount of time, passion and monetary efforts in R&D and marketing, but often fail to consider that, in most countries, the only way to enjoy exclusive rights over their creative efforts and their business identity (trademark) is through IPRs registration. Considering that in the textile sector one single product can brilliantly encompass almost all form of IP rights, understanding and defending them is a paramount objective: a Patent for the new man-made yarn, the Design for an innovative texture of the fabric, the Copyright for the drawing painted on it, the Trade-secret for the dying procedure and the Trademark as representation of the business identity, all in one small piece of cloth.

The point is that Trademarks, Designs, Patents, are territorial rights and most countries adopt the first to file principle: this means in practice that the IPRs belong to their creator only if their creator was the first one to register it in that Country. And each Country in the world has its set of rules, its peculiarities, its advantages and pitfalls. Without being secured through registration, with the assistance of lawyers, expert in the jurisdiction, your IPRs can be freely exploited by anybody else. Considering the importance of the China market and the wonderful opportunities it offers in terms of production abilities, raw and semi-processed materials and the growing purchasing power and awareness of Chinese consumers, SMEs cannot afford to put-off investments in IP registration and enforcement in China and in the South-East Asian countries that are slowly but steadily emerging. Continue reading “An Introduction to Intellectual Property Protection and Enforcement in China and South-East Asia” »