IPR Protection in China for the OEM Industry

cool20080814_015In today’s blog post we are taking a closer look at IP protection in China’s OEM industry. You will learn about the IP associated with OEM industry like trade marks, copyrights and design patents, as well as how to protect the IP relevant to OEM industry. The blog post also provides some tips on how to mitigate IP risks in OEM contracts. 

The term Original Equipment Manufacturer (‘OEM’) designates a company that only makes a part of a product, or a subsystem, to be used in another company’s end product. The extension, also designates the agreement whereby one company commissions another to manufacture products according to certain specifications and to affix a trade mark on such products; the said products are delivered to the commissioner who sells them in the market under his own name. The letters ‘OEM’ therefore designate both the manufacturer and the act of commissioning the finished product to a third party.

China’s OEM sector developed rapidly from its roots in the apparel industry to a sector comprising automotive parts, cosmetics, and ICT equipment. As the world’s leading manufacturer, China attracts manufacturing contracts from global customers, including many European SMEs, in almost every industry by capitalising on Chinese OEM’s core strengths—relatively low labour costs, experienced manufacturers, and skilled workers.

Even though China’s IPR laws and regulations have improved in past years, IP infringements are still commonplace in the country and thus protection intellectual of property rights related to the goods is a crucial element of a successful China OEM strategy. Continue reading “IPR Protection in China for the OEM Industry” »

Handling of Trade Secrets in South-East Asia: Focus on Thailand

Quote

fgjTrade secrets are an excellent but often under-exploited means of IP protection for the SMEs. In Today’s blog post we are taking a closer look at trade secret protection in South-East Asia in general as well as in Thailand in particular. You will learn about general trade secret protection requirements and trends in South-East Asia and will get a closer overview of trade secret protection in Thailand in particular. 

Trade secrets are a highly valuable form of intellectual property that nearly all businesses in all industries and sectors possess. However, they are frequently overlooked by businesses, partly because there is confusion about what actually constitutes a trade secret. So what is a trade secret?

According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), any confidential business information that is of considerable commercial value to businesses and that provides an enterprise with a competitive edge may be considered a trade secret. In practice, this could be:

  • sales methods
  • distribution methods
  • consumer profiles
  • advertising plans
  • pricing strategies
  • lists of suppliers and clients
  • manufacturing processes

In other words, more often than not trade secrets are the ‘know-how’ that a business builds up over time. Typically, the longer the SME is in business the more valuable its trade secrets will become, and the more its business grows the more its competitors will seek to discover this valuable working knowledge. Therefore, it is increasingly important to take steps to protect trade secrets. Continue reading “Handling of Trade Secrets in South-East Asia: Focus on Thailand” »

Intellectual Property Rights Protection for EU SMEs related to Smart City Solutions

Lily Pictures - v01Smart City Solutions have become the hot topic throughout South-East Asia and the European SMEs engaged in the industries connected to Smart City Solutions are expected to find many promising business opportunities in the region. In today’s blog post we are taking a closer look at the IP protection related to Smart City Solutions in Vietnam. You will learn about whether to protect your inventions with patents or whether you should rely on trade secrets.  

With the rapid development of Vietnam’s cities has come a growing urban integration of information systems. This enhances the city’s efficiency as well as the quality of life of its citizens for many crucial metropolitan features such as mobility, healthcare, waste management, energy, or water-access[1]. Online interconnected systems and a reliance on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) features play a key role in these advancements[2]. The province of Binh Duong, for instance, has started cooperating with the Vietnam Post and Telecommunications Group to develop the necessary ICT infrastructure with local government agencies.

The importance of intellectual property rights (IPR) protection in such context then becomes apparent. By combining a growing demand for high-tech solutions to tackle urban challenges with a tech-savvy population, Vietnam’s cities provide plenty of opportunities for European SMEs to expand their businesses. Yet European SMEs dealing with smart solutions should be mindful of possible IPR risks at hand. They often provide highly innovative niche solutions, but for many urban problems, a solution can only be made successful through a combination of interdependent technologies. In effect, European SMEs may need to expose their innovations to third parties on a regular basis, thus increasing the risks of IP infringement if proper measures are not taken in advance, says Valentina Salmoiraghi, IP Business Advisor. Continue reading “Intellectual Property Rights Protection for EU SMEs related to Smart City Solutions” »

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” »

IP Protection in South-East Asia for the Textile Industry

towels-1511875_1920In today’s blog post, we are taking a closer look at IP protection in South-East Asia’s  textile industry, which is developing fast and offering many opportunities to European SMEs. You will learn how to protect your newest fabrics, your textile machinery or your brand in South-East Asia. 

Textile industry in South-East Asia offers many promising business opportunities to European SMEs as garments are one of ASEAN’s largest export articles and textile industry is still growing in the majority of South-East Asian countries with fastest growth rates registered in Vietnam and Cambodia. Furthermore, Thailand that has traditionally been strong in textile manufacturing has now set its sights on becoming a fashion hub for the ASEAN region as its textile and garment exports to other ASEAN countries have been steadily growing for the past few years. Similarly, Indonesian government is committed to preparing several incentives in a bid to boost the textile sector and making Indonesia one of the top five global textile exporters.[1]

South-East Asia has been the production hub for many European companies that would then export apparel and accessories back to the European Market. At the same time South-East Asia also offers market opportunities for European products as European design is becoming more well-known in the region.  Singapore for example has become Asia’s second fashion capital, offering a variety of high-end international brands.[2] As Asian consumers are becoming more affluent and cities like Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur are becoming more established in the fashion world, there will be more opportunities to European SMEs in the region.

At the same time, South-East Asia’s textile industry is both an opportunity and threat to European businesses. It can be a major market for those supplying production technologies and on one of the key supply bases for textiles and finished goods. However, foreign technologies and brands that are not adequately protected often fall victim to counterfeiting and other IP violations that are still commonplace throughout the whole South-East Asia. Continue reading “IP Protection in South-East Asia for the Textile Industry” »