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” »

IPR Protection in China’s Textile Industry

sweatshirts-428607_1920Two weeks ago we were discussing IP protection in South-East Asia’s textile industry, in today’s blog post we are taking a closer look at the IP protection in China’s textile industry, which is still offering many promising business opportunities to European Businesses. The blog post will offer advice to textile producers, to the producers of yarns and fabrics as well as to the producers of textile machinery. In this blog post you can get further information on trade mark, patent, copyright and trade secret protection. 

China’s textile industry is both an opportunity and threat to European businesses. It is a major market for those supplying production technologies and a key supply base for textiles and finished goods. However, foreign technologies and brands that are not adequately protected often fall victim to infringement by Chinese competitors. This article addresses IP issues across subsectors of the textile industry, including textile machinery, yarns and specialty fabrics, finished fabrics and brand apparel & accessories. The areas of IP most relevant to the above sectors will be discussed, as well as smaller IP issues specifically affecting makers of brand apparel & accessories.

Trade Marks Protect Your Brand

Trade marks provide protection against use of identical or similar marks on similar goods. China uses the ‘first-to-file’ system, meaning that companies may lose legal protection in China and take the risk of infringing others’ trademark if the same or similar mark has already been registered in China by someone else. It currently takes two-three years from application to registration of a trademark in China, providing no opposition is filed against the application upon publication.

Because China uses the ‘first-to-file’ system, it is common for unscrupulous parties to register other’s trade marks first. It can be a difficult and expensive process to cancel, oppose or buy back a trademark that has already been registered. It is not uncommon that import agents or distributors register trade marks on behalf of the principal. It is recommended that the trademark is either registered in the name of the principal or transferred back to the principal to avoid later disputes. In addition to registering the trademark in the original language, it is advisable to register a distinctive Chinese language trademark, even if this is not the primary mark used. Without a well-promoted Chinese mark, the market may create a Chinese nickname for a product, and this nickname may be registered by unscrupulous parties to exploit the reputation of your brand. Continue reading “IPR Protection in China’s Textile Industry” »

Basics of Manufacturing Non-disclosure Agreements in China

Page 1. ContractsIn today’s blog post we are going to take a closer look at different contracts and agreements that help European companies to protect their precious IP in China. In particular, you will learn more about non-disclosure agreements and non-use, non-disclosure and non-circumvention agreements. 

Introduction: contracts in China

Many SMEs view Chinese manufacturers as cheap, technically-skilled, attractive options for manufacturing their products and as such pursue partnerships with them. While Chinese manufacturers can be the key to the products needed to give your company worldwide reach, China—like all countries—can be home to unscrupulous merchants with a taste for IP theft. As such, tailoring contracts to suit your intellectual property rights (IPR) is an important way to ensure that your company’s specific intellectual property assets are adequately protected when dealing with Chinese manufacturers. In particular, this article will address use of so-called NDAs (non-disclosure agreements) and NNNs (non-use, non-disclosure, and non-circumvention agreements) to protect an SME’s trade secrets—“any non-public technical or business information with commercial value that is guarded by confidentiality measures.”

What are NDAs and NNNs?

At its core, a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) between an SME and a Chinese manufacturer is an agreement which states that once the SME reveals its trade secrets to the Chinese manufacturer, the manufacturer will refrain from disclosing those secrets to anyone else. Once a secret loses its secrecy—once it is revealed to the public—it no longer has any kind of legal protection and, most likely, will lose its economic value. That is why NDAs are go-to contracts for any SME which seeks to use a Chinese manufacturer. Otherwise, the manufacturer could reveal the SME’s trade secrets, making those secrets impossible to protect and capitalise on. Continue reading “Basics of Manufacturing Non-disclosure Agreements in China” »

IP Protection Strategies for App Developers in China

8585049088_9d1dbcdf1f_kDue to the size of the market, increasing disposable income and smartphone addiction China is an attractive market for European app developers who are wishing to expand to new markets. European app developers should, however, pay attention to protecting their IP rights in the country, because IP infringements are still commonplace in China.In today’s blog post we’re taking a closer look at how European app developers could best protect their business against IP violations in China. 

China has increased the per person spending on games and other apps 10 times since 2014. This rapid growth, stimulated by the release of the iPhone 6 and 7 and heavy investment in Apple’s retail presence in the country, has pushed China to the top spot for App downloads worldwide[1].

Asia is leading a mobile revolution, replacing older, less transportable technologies with a ‘mobile-first’ tech culture. Smartphone penetration in China is far deeper than anywhere in the West, many new users skipping desktop computing entirely in their adoption of smartphones and tablets[2]. In China alone it is estimated that there are more than 700 million active smartphones and there is still potential for further growth as lower cost alternatives increasingly cater for the lower end of the market.

These statistics, coupled with recent developments in Chinese mobile user payment structures makes China a very attractive market for existing and potential app developers, with content creators flocking to take advantage of the newly minted market. Continue reading “IP Protection Strategies for App Developers in China” »

Most Common IP Problems when Operating Internationally: Focus on South-East Asia

copyright page 4South-East Asia has become an increasingly popular destination for the European SMEs as the rapid economic development in the region has created many promising business opportunities for European SMEs. Even though many South-east Asian countries have good IP laws and regulations in place, counterfeiting and other IP violations are still commonplace in the region. In today’s blog post the South-East Asia IPR SME Helpdesk addresses the most common IP issues that European SMEs encounter when expanding their business to South-East Asian countries. 

Underpinned by the fast development, South-East Asia is offering many business opportunities for European SMEs. At the same time, a clear vision of an IP strategy in South-East Asia can impact a company’s growth and prevent loss of revenue further down the road. Taking the time to collect IP information on local practice can help SMEs exploit opportunities or avoid pitfalls by taking informed decisions in a new market. During the latest International Helpdesks Annual Stakeholders Meeting in Brussels, IP experts discussed main IP related challenges in South-East Asia. This article summarizes main take-away messages for SMEs wishing to start a business in South-East Asia. EU SMEs are always welcome to use the Helpdesk’s enquiry helpline to receive first-line advice tailored to their needs, says Valentina Salmoiraghi, IP Business Advisor of the Helpdesk. Continue reading “Most Common IP Problems when Operating Internationally: Focus on South-East Asia” »