IP Considerations for R&D in China

anatomy-1751201_1280As many European SMEs are considering having their R&D-intensive business in China, so in today’s blog post, we are taking a closer look on how to protect your inventions that require research and development in China. The article discusses the common issues relating to IP ownership and IP licensing.

Many European SMEs may not consider that they conduct any R&D activities in China because they do not have a laboratory or research facility there, but in reality, a high proportion of these companies engage in activities which fall under at least one of the terms: research or development. An example of R&D might include an SME that enters into a contract with a local company to use their engineers to develop a prototype into a commercial product or application.

Intellectual property is a critical consideration for European SMEs that come to China wishing to tap into the market potential for business growth, or the talent pool for technology development. When engaging in R&D in China, new intellectual property is being created, the rights to which need to be clearly defined from the outset to avoid disagreements later. Continue reading “IP Considerations for R&D in China” »

Design Rights Protection in South-East Asia

shutterstock_385731427In today’s blog post, we are discussing the protection of design rights in South-East Asia. You’ll learn how to protect the aesthetic aspects of your products or how to protect some aspects of your product packaging. The article also gives an overview on how to enforce your rights once an infringement has occurred.

It is essential for SMEs doing business in South-East Asia to protect their intellectual property rights, as poor IP strategy often leads to the end of business endeavor in the region. Design rights are useful, but oftentimes overlooked means of protecting IP in South-East Asia.

An industrial design right, also known as a design patent in certain jurisdictions, is an exclusive right, which protects designs which give a competitive edge to the owner over competitors due to their aesthetic appeal. Industrial designs can take the form of either two- or three-dimensional shapes, configuration or patterns. Prominent examples include the iPod, shape of the Coca Cola bottle, computer icons, and even the design of mobile applications.

To obtain industrial design protection, SMEs must file an application to register the design in all the countries they foresee business activities, since design rights like other IP rights are territorial. Like patents, protection for industrial rights lasts for a limited period and the duration can vary from country to country. Generally, protection lasts for at least 10 years. Continue reading “Design Rights Protection in South-East Asia” »

IP Protection in the Philippines for the Food and Beverage Industry

shutterstock_173260598In Today’s blog post we are taking a closer look at the IP protection in the Philippines in the food and beverage sector, which has recently also started to offer many business opportunities for European SMEs. You will learn more about how to protect your brand and your precious recipes. Besides brand protection, package design is also important in the Philippines, as consumers often make their purchasing decisions based on the attractiveness of the packaging. Finally, we’re also discussing the options for Geographical Indications’ protection.  

The Philippines’ rapidly growing food & beverage industry is one of the biggest contributors to nation’s economy making up about half of its manufacturing sector and contributing about 23-24% of the country’s GDP[1]. The Philippines is one of the Asia’s largest producers of food, with the value of food processing sector exceeding 24 billion EUR.[2] Given the Philippines’ government’s commitment to further developing the food and beverage industry as one of the priority industries and opening it further up to foreign investments, the Philippines’ F&B industry has become more attractive for European SMEs.

Propelled by increasing disposable income amongst the upper and middle classes and the proliferation of retail and shopping centers as well as by highly urbanized population, the Philippine’s domestic food and beverages market looks quite promising for the European SMEs. The Philippines’ consumers appreciate the high quality and healthy nature of European food and beverage products. As a general trend, the Philippines’ young and fast-growing consumer base is gradually becoming more health-conscious and is increasingly willing to try out new products. As the spending power of the upper-middle and middle class is increasing, there is also greater demand for imported premium products, which offers many business opportunities for the European SMEs.  Continue reading “IP Protection in the Philippines for the Food and Beverage Industry” »

IP Protection Strategies for European SMEs Active in the Philippines’ Water Management Sector

200As water management is becoming an ever more pressing issue for the Philippines, there are also more opportunities for European SMEs to find promising business opportunities in the Philippines’ water management sector, especially  as European top-notch technology is highly sought after. With every opportunity also comes a risk, especially as counterfeiting and other IP violations are still commonplace in the Philippines. In today’s blog post we are taking a closer look at how European SMEs, wishing to do business in the Philippines’  water management sector, can best protect their IP. 

For a country surrounded by the ocean, it comes as no surprise that water is a priority sector in the Philippines. A large majority of its 7,000 islands directly deals with water management challenges: while some islands have water-sources still left unexplored, others are actively searching for solutions in light of a decreased water-quality. The quality of the Pasig River flowing through Manila is notorious even for international standards, especially as progress to revive its water-quality has been slow and without considerable success. This is further enhanced in light of ongoing trends related to climate change, where a combination of rising sea-levels and an ever-present risk for natural disasters – like 2013’s Super Typhoon Haiyan – continuously shapes how people live and engage with water.

The range of solutions needed in the Philippines is not limited to just more traditional approaches of dikes or hydro-dams. Its geographical set-up in combination with local livelihoods highly dependent on water forces European companies providing water-related services to often look for case-specific and dynamic solutions. From electricity-generation, to water-sanitation, waste-water management or disaster risk reduction, this often results in a quite complex and innovative solution where European technology can play a central role. As European companies start to tap into this promising market, they should not neglect protecting their IP rights in the Philippines a good IP strategy can make the difference between succeeding or failing in the Philippines’ market, while counterfeiting and other IP violations are still relatively commonplace in the country. Continue reading “IP Protection Strategies for European SMEs Active in the Philippines’ Water Management Sector” »

How to Remove Counterfeit Goods from Major E-Commerce Sites in China

2. Credit CardDespite the fact that Chinese IP laws have improved a lot in the past years, counterfeiting still exists in China. In today’s blog post we are taking a closer look at how European SMEs can fight against counterfeits on China’s major e-commerce sites like Taobao and Jingdong. This blog post offers some advice on how to find counterfeits of your product online and explains the mechanisms that exist for removing counterfeits from major e-commerce websites.

China: Counterfeit goods and the internet

The internet has become a popular and easy channel for product distribution around the world. It has created a marketplace of more than half a billion users in China, more than a third of the world’s total online population, and is still expanding. Apart from being a forum for legitimate vendors and original products, the internet is also used by illegal and unscrupulous businesses as a platform for the distribution of counterfeit goods which infringe intellectual property rights.

As the internet provides a convenient platform for counterfeits, we recommend that every European SME (especially those with successful products) should monitor Chinese e-commerce sites for infringing products. By moving quickly you will be able to have infringing products removed from sale and preserve your market share. Although some companies find that internet monitoring is time consuming but you may find yourself at high risk if you sell your product on the Chinese market, manufacture your product in China or even if you have a popular product on sale in Europe.

This guide provides you with information on the regulations governing e-commerce and a practical introduction on how to have infringing products removed from two popular Chinese e-commerce sites: Alibaba and Taobao.

Continue reading “How to Remove Counterfeit Goods from Major E-Commerce Sites in China” »