Structural changes in IPR registration and Enforcement bodies in China

EU SMEs should be made aware of important changes made to the structure of Intellectual Property registration, management and enforcement governing bodies in China which were announced in the context of the annual plenary session of the National People’s Congress (NPC) and the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) (also known as ‘Two Sessions’) which took place in early March. The restructuring of IP management and enforcement bodies is part of a wider reorganization of China’s  ministries and agencies in order to increase their efficiency. The date at which these changes will come into effect has not yet been announced.

The following existing entities are to merge together and fall under the umbrella of a newly created State Market Supervision Administration (SMSA):

  • State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO): This is the Chinese patent office and it is also in charge of the IP foreign affairs. This is the entity at which European SMEs register their patents in China.
  • State Administration of Industry and Commerce’s Function of Trademark Management: Currently Trademark registration is handled before CTMO (China Trade Mark Office), which is under SAIC (State Administration of Industry and Commerce).
  • General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine’s Function of “Place of Origin” Label Management (AQSIQ): They are currently in charge of Geographical Indications. GIs are registered here in China by the regional organisations responsible for these GIs.

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How to Identify and Deal with IP Scams in China: Threat from Third Party Scam

SCAMIn recent years, European SMEs have received more and more IP scam e-mails  warning them that someone else is wishing to register their trade mark in China and that urgent action is needed. Some SMEs have also fallen victim to these e-mails and have ended up losing quite substantial amounts of money. Therefore, in today’s blog post, we have chosen to discuss how to identify and deal with IP scams in China. The blog post will concentrate on one of the most popular e-mail  scam – ‘threat from the third party scam’. 

With more and more European SMEs having awareness of the importance of IP and the necessity of IP registration in China, their needs of IP services is increasingly growing. As stated in China’s IP laws, foreigners need to hire local Chinese agencies to file for registration of IP rights and attend to other trade mark or patent related matters such as prosecution, invalidation, renewal etc. Therefore, there is a vast market for IP services involving foreign businesses which in turn is attracting more and more local IP businesses to join this lucrative market.

However, the quality and level of services offered by practitioners differ significantly. Coupled with the lack of sufficient translation of key information on obtaining IP rights and registration procedures, this made it very easy for some agencies, lacking in professional ethics to devise various scams to trick foreign companies or use irresponsible methods to attract customers. Thus it is very important that the European SMEs would be able to distinguish IP scams and know where to find the correct information on IP services and what action can be taken to avoid or mitigate scams. Continue reading “How to Identify and Deal with IP Scams in China: Threat from Third Party Scam” »

IPR Protection Strategies in China for the Mechanical Engineering Sector

Manufacture5Underpinned by the Chinese Government’s ambitious Manufacturing 2015 Plan, mechanical engineering sector is expected to offer many lucrative business opportunities in China for the European SMEs in the near future. SMEs wishing to do business in China should keep in mind that despite recent improvements in Chinese IP laws, counterfeiting and other IP infringements are still commonplace in China. Thus, European SMEs need to have a good IP protection strategy in place when entering China’s market. In today’s blog post we are taking a look at IP issues specific to the mechanical engineering sector and offer some first-hand advice on how you can protect your IP in China. 

China’s economic success has been built on manufacturing on a massive scale and despite the economic slow-down, manufacturing is still growing. For example, in the five years to 2015, electrical equipment and machinery manufacturing revenue has been increasing 10.1% annually to EUR 7.8 billion[1].

This has made China’s demand for machinery, tools and related technologies insatiable, making it a potential marketplace for Europe’s high quality products and innovative technologies.

Mechanical engineering sector is expected to see increased growth and opportunities for the European SMEs in the coming years as Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has recently unveiled its Manufacturing 2025 Plan, which aims at lifting china from the ‘big industrial country’ to the ‘powerful industrial country’. Manufacturing 2025 Plan aims at upgrading China’s manufacturing industry by making greater use of technologies like cloud computing. Manufacturing 2025 Plan is especially beneficial for the mechanical engineering sector as the government has chosen many relative industries like automated machine tools and robotics, aerospace and aeronautical equipment, new-energy and power equipment and agricultural equipment as some of the leading industries for the Plan.  These are also the areas, where European SMEs can expect most opportunities.

Unfortunately, IP infringements are still rampant in China. However, as China’s market develops, legislators and enforcement authorities have made progress in updating IPR practices and educating Chinese manufacturers. As a result, patent applications have rocketed and new IP registration procedures and IPR courts have made application and enforcement of IP rights more accessible for foreign actors. Furthermore, the Manufacturing 2025 Plan is expected to further improve the IPR environment.   Continue reading “IPR Protection Strategies in China for the Mechanical Engineering Sector” »

How to Conduct a Trade Mark Search in China

shutterstock_81193486-520x345Before even starting to prepare your trade mark registration application in China, it is vital to be sure that an identical or similar trade mark hasn’t been already registered in China. Today’s blog post is a step-by-step guide to how to use the China Trade Mark Office (CTMO) database to conduct preliminary trade mark research yourself.

Every company, no matter how big or small, has some intellectual property (IP). The most common type of IP right is a trade mark. A trade mark is essential to all kinds of companies, whether you are a producer, distributor or service provider, as it allows clients to distinguish you from your competitors and builds the image and reputation of your brand.

International laws, including Chinese laws, grant legal protection to trade marks providing they comply with a few basic requirements: the mark must be distinctive; must not have previously been used by others in the same market; and must not describe the product, e.g. you cannot register ‘apple’ as a trade mark for apples.

Trade marks are territorial in nature and therefore must be registered in every country. A trade mark registered in Spain, for example, is not automatically valid in China. If you want to obtain protection in China you must register with the China Trade Mark Office (CTMO) either by directly filing a domestic application or by filing an international extension through the Madrid System. Continue reading “How to Conduct a Trade Mark Search in China” »