IPR Protection in China for the GNSS Technologies

technology-2082642_1280Driven by consumers’ obsession with smartphones, China’s market for GNSS technologies offers promising business opportunities for European SMEs whose top-notch technology is highly sought after in China. European SMEs wishing to do business in China should however be aware of the fact that IP infringements are still relatively common in China and thus a comprehensive IP strategy is needed in order to succeed in China’s market. Today’s blog post, thus, offers an overview of IP protection tools in China, focusing especially on the GNSS technologies.  

GNSS and China

In an increasingly technologically advanced and interconnected world, technology utilising GNSS has risen year on year, with both entirely new applications being developed along with improvements and adaptations to existing technologies.

At present there are two globally operating GNSS systems; the United States’ Global Positioning System (GPS), and the Russian Global’naya Navigatsionnaya Sputnikovaya Sistema or (GLONASS) system. There are also two GNSS systems currently under development; Galileo, a European Union-led initiative and the expansion of the Chinese BeiDou system to the global Compass Navigation System. Both of these systems currently provide incomplete or regional coverage and are scheduled to be fully operational globally by 2020.

GNSS technology has a wide range of applications including LBS, maritime transport, public regulated services, road transport, agriculture, surveying, aviation, civil protection and timing and synchronisation.

These technologies depend on a number of factors, including ‘availability’ i.e. the percentage of time the minimum number of satellites are in view, ‘indoor penetration’ i.e. the ability of signal to penetrate inside buildings, location accuracy, continuity of service and signal reliability. Success in the GNSS market depends on the successful exploitation of technology to maximise the success of devices abilities to transmit and receive in line with these dependant factors. This makes protection of IPR crucial to maintaining market advantage and adequate returns on research investment. Continue reading “IPR Protection in China for the GNSS Technologies” »

Protecting your IP while Transferring Technology to China

Manufacture4Since China’s market for clean technologies offers significant business opportunities for the European SMEs, then in this week, the EU Gateway Business Avenues took selected European companies to Beijing, China for a business mission in Clean Technologies. Many of these companies are considering bringing their technology to China, which however,  involves many IP risks. Therefore, in today’s blog post, we have chosen to discuss IP issues relating to technology transfer. The blog post offers some tips on how to safely bring your technology to China. 

Many European Companies are keen to come to China. While in the past, European companies came to China to take advantage of low-cost manufacturing for export, more recently, they have come to enter the Chinese domestic market, establish R&D, engage in cooperative development, take advantage of a skilled work force, establish suppliers, and develop long-term partnerships in China. In order to achieve this, they are often willing to ‘transfer’ their key technology and designs to Chinese subsidiaries of European firms, joint-venture (JV) partners, or Chinese manufacturing and service companies. One of the challenges facing European companies coming to China is devising creative solutions to minimize the risk to their intellectual property (IP) associated with such technology transfers.

A technology transfer happens in a number of different ways. European companies most commonly transfer their technology by licensing their patents, designs, software, trade secrets, and know-how. Ownership of the technology may be transferred, but this type of transfer is less common. A common misconception is that a technology transfer is limited to transfers of high technology. However, many European companies using contract manufacturing to manufacture low technology, consumer, or industrial products, for example based on product designs, must deal with many of the same risks to their IP as their high technology counterparts. Continue reading “Protecting your IP while Transferring Technology to China” »

Using Contracts to Protect your IP in South-East Asia: Licensing and Technology Transfer Agreements

Page 1. ContractsMany companies wishing to do business in  South-East Asia choose to license their IP to third parties in order to be able to expand their business ever more rapidly and conveniently. Well-drafted licensing and technology transfer agreements are the key to a successful business endeavor in South-East Asia and thus, we have chosen to discuss the art of drafting these contracts in today’s blog post. This blog post will provide you with some useful tips and watch-outs to keep in mind when drafting contracts with your partners in South-East Asia. 

IP can create value and revenue to the European SMEs through IP commercialization via licensing the IP to third parties. A company that owns rights in a patent,  but cannot or does not want to be involved in the manufacturing of products, can benefit from licensing their IP assets to third parties who have better manufacturing capacity, wider distribution outlets or greater local knowledge. Furthermore, licensing trade marks can allow companies to expand their operations into new markets faster and more effectively as the companies can benefit from the wider distribution networks and contacts that the licensees have.

The people and companies that SMEs do business with, 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 well-written licensing and technology transfer contracts. In this article we will take a look at licensing and technology transfer agreements. Continue reading “Using Contracts to Protect your IP in South-East Asia: Licensing and Technology Transfer Agreements” »

Using Contracts to Protect your IP in South-East Asia: NDAs and Employment Contracts

MP900438585IPR protection is an essential part of SMEs’ business strategy and it often defines the success of the business. Thus, it is very important for the SMEs to be aware of all of the possibilities to protect their IP. In today’s blog post we are taking a closer look at IP protection with different contracts and agreements. More specifically,  we are discussing Non-Disclosure Agreements and Employment Agreements, which can be used as preemptive measures to deter possible infringers from violating SMEs’ IP rights. 

There are many ways in which intellectual property (IP) owners should protect their valuable assets. Perhaps the most apparent ways are to register the IP in relevant jurisdictions and then enforce that IP right against infringing third parties. There is, however, a very practical and pre-emptive way of protecting IP on a commercial level. SMEs should also think about protecting their IP with different contracts like non-disclosure agreements, memorandums of understanding and employment contracts.

A large proportion of the value of business is derived from IP due to its presence in SMEs’ everyday business. IP can create value and revenue in a number of ways: it can be sold or licensed, contributed as capital in a joint venture, offered to enter into strategic alliances, integrated with a current business, or used to create a new business. The people and companies that SMEs do business with, and therefore contract with, will often use SME’s IP to varying degrees. When doing business that involves IP, there are two key points to bear in mind: always use written contracts wherever possible and ensure that, where relevant, that company’s IP is covered in those agreements.

Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDA) and Confidentiality Agreements

Ensuring non-disclosure and confidentiality is important for any type of deal—not only for technology, IP and trade secret matters which may be the core part of the deal, but also for business strategies, new product ideas and financial and accounting information, all of which are likely to be useful in deciding whether a deal will go forward. Non-disclosure and confidentiality undertakings are enforceable in South-East Asia, provided that they are reasonable and fair and do not violate the public interest. Normal Western-style confidentiality undertakings setting out the agreed terms of what constitutes the “confidential information” and what does not, acknowledgement of proprietary interest in the confidential information and penalties for unauthorized disclosure, etc., are also common in Southeast Asia. Continue reading “Using Contracts to Protect your IP in South-East Asia: NDAs and Employment Contracts” »

Explaining the New Regulations of Foreign Contractor Withholding Tax on Trade Marks in Vietnam

shutterstock_81193486-520x345In today’s blog post we asked our IP expert Mr. Son Doan to clarify the provisions of the Official Letter on taxing the transfer of the right to use trade marks, issued by the Ministry of  Finance of Vietnam. 

On 7 November 2016 the Ministry of Finance of Vietnam issued the Official Letter 15888/BCT-CST to provide detailed guidance on foreign contractor withholding tax (FCWT) applicable to income of foreign contractors from transfer of right to use a trade mark. According to the Official Letter:

  • Pursuant to the Law on Intellectual Property, when a Vietnamese party uses a trade mark and makes payments to a foreign party for the transfer of use right, this should be considered as transfer of the right to use a trade marks in accordance with the Law on Intellectual Property, distinguishable from the assignment intellectual property rights.
  • As a result the income of foreign contractors from transfer of the rights to use a trade mark should be subject to FCWT with applicable tax rates as follows:
    • CIT rate on taxable revenue is 10%
    • VAT rate is 10% (if foreign contractor declare VAT under the credit method) or 5% (if foreign contractors declare VAT under the deemed method).

This means that if a foreign owner fully transfers the ownership of a trade mark to a Vietnamese party, there will be no taxes applied. However, if the foreign company merely grants the right to use the brand to the local Vietnamese businesses, then Vietnam tax authorities will collect the CIT and also the VAT.  Continue reading “Explaining the New Regulations of Foreign Contractor Withholding Tax on Trade Marks in Vietnam” »