DOMAIN NAME REGISTRATION AND PROTECTION IN CHINA

With the development and usage of World Wide Web, mobile internet and mobile phones, the Chinese E-Commerce market got an enormous growth. According to “Chinese E-Commerce Market Data Monitoring Report 2016”, the E-Commerce transaction amount reached 22.97 trillion RMB in 2016.

For both Chinese and international enterprises, to join this market is a trend but also a necessity. As one of the mainly path for entering E-Commerce market, the meaning of domain name registration is therefore getting more and more important.

Worldwide exist 330 million registered domain names currently. In China is the number in the amount of 50 million. China is becoming the second largest domain name market in the world. This market is interesting for both domain name service providers and enterprises as domain user. The foreign providers need to know the policy and rules for running a domain name business in China. And how to register and protect domain name in China is now an important issue that the enterprises should pay attention to. Continue reading “DOMAIN NAME REGISTRATION AND PROTECTION IN CHINA” »

E-Commerce Platforms Up, Trademark Holders Down!

The First China E-Commerce Law lightens the burden of E-commerce platforms when dealing with IPR infringements, while making it more expensive and burdensome for the holders of IP Rights!

The long awaited E-commerce Law of the PRC has been finally approved, entering into force on August 31, 2018. This is the first Law that expressly regulates the relation between IPR owners and e-commerce platforms. The Law seems to favor e-commerce platforms by shifting the whole burden to the right holders to prove infringement in case of disputed takedown notices. Compared to the established business practices, the Law appears to be more e-commerce than IP friendly.

1. An overview of the relevant provisions

Instead of providing strict rules regarding the protection of IP rights online, the new Law has simply codified the current practices on takedown notices. This will leave it to the e-commerce platforms to continue self-regulate the procedures for the takedown of IPR infringing content. In particular, the Law has neither introduced any measure or standards to lighten the burden of proof of infringement of the right holders when filing takedown notices, nor has provided a procedure of effective cross examination of the defenses filed by the alleged infringer in case of disputed takedowns. The platform retains the discretion to examine and interpret the evidence and is free from the burden of having to make a final decision in case of a disputed takedown notice. This is particularly critical in those cases in which the alleged infringer denies liability, shifting the whole burden on the right holders to overcome such refusals by filing judicial or administrative lawsuits!! As we shall see below, this will give counterfeiters a good tactical advantage and will likely increase the number of disputed takedown notices in the future.

Also, the Law does not provide any strict obligation and standards imposing on the platforms the creation of preventive IPR protection systems. Article 45 of the Law only provides a generic obligation for a platform to take appropriate protection measures if the former knows or should have known that a user has infringed others IP rights. Aside from failing to define the standard of “knowledge”, the provision refers to cases where the infringement has already taken place. No specific obligation to prevent postings of obviously infringing content has been introduced, thus freeing the platforms from the obligation and burden of having to take preventive measures. If any such measures are or will be in place, this will be the result of lobbying and self-regulation, and not a consequence of this new law.

As we mentioned above, the Law acknowledges that the IPR holders have a right to request the removal or the block of infringing content by filing a notice with the platform, which must be supported by prima facie evidence of infringement. This is nothing new. It has been the common practice of e-commerce to allow so called takedown notices supported by evidence of infringement.

Like in the consolidated business practice, the Law allows the alleged infringer to defend itself by filing a response to the notice supported by evidence. However, and unlike the text of the 3rd and last draft, the final text of the Law has added to the safe harbor rule of e-commerce platforms, a 15 days time limit for the IPR owner to file a litigation or complaint (maybe with the IP office) or drop the case. If a lawsuit/complaint is filed, the take down measures already taken by the e-commerce platform will remain in place, with the e-commerce platform’s measures becoming a de facto “preliminary injunction”. If not, the measures will be revoked. In practice, an unlike the previous drafts, the platform is taking no further responsibility in deciding who is right or wrong and the law helps her out of trouble by forcing the right holder to escalate the dispute to the judicial level. Continue reading “E-Commerce Platforms Up, Trademark Holders Down!” »

How to Remove Counterfeit Goods from E-Commerce Sites in South-East Asia

2. Credit CardE-commerce has also been growing in South-East Asia and it’s attracting many European Companies. Together with the growth of e-commerce, the presence of counterfeit goods on these e-commerce sites has also been growing. In today’s blog post we are discussing how to remove counterfeits from the major e-commerce sites like Lazada in South-East Asia. 

A growing middle class coupled with increasing internet access has led to fast-paced e-commerce growth in South-East Asia in the past decades. The middle-class population of ASEAN, according to expert estimates, may grow from 190 million in 2012 to 400 million in 2020[1] . Additionally, there are approximately 200 million people in South-East Asia with access to the internet and this number is expected to grow three-fold by 2025. E-commerce in South-East Asia can thus offer many promising business opportunities for the European SMEs.

Besides being a forum for legitimate vendors and original products, the internet is also used by unscrupulous businesses as a platform for the distribution of counterfeit goods which infringe intellectual property rights of others. The explosive growth in access to the internet has resulted in counterfeiters to move their illegal activities online. Online e-commerce websites might become easy and anonymous options for counterfeiters to reach out to potential customers as well as popular social media platforms. A recent study reported that 20% of 750,000 posts on the popular social media platform Instagram alone in relation to well-known fashion brands involved the offer of counterfeit products for sales, with many of the vendors identified to be based in China, Malaysia and Indonesia among others[2]. Continue reading “How to Remove Counterfeit Goods from E-Commerce Sites in South-East Asia” »

Domain Name Registration and Protection in China

matrix-2502958_1920Today’s blog post on domain name registration and protection in China has been kindly shared with us by China IPR SME Helpdesk external expert Daniel Albrecht from Starke Beijing. The article first appeared on the Starke Beijing website. In this article, Mr. Albrecht gives a comprehensive overview of how and why to register and protect internet domain names in China. 

With the development and usage of World Wide Web, mobile internet and mobile phones, the Chinese E-Commerce market got an enormous growth. According to “Chinese E-Commerce Market Data Monitoring Report 2016”, the E-Commerce transaction amount reached 22.97 trillion RMB in 2016.

For both Chinese and international enterprises, to join this market is a trend but also a necessity. As one of the mainly path for entering E-Commerce market, the meaning of domain name registration is therefore getting more and more important.

Worldwide exist 330 million registered domain names currently. In China is the number in the amount of 50 million. China is becoming the second largest domain name market in the world. This market is interesting for both domain name service providers and enterprises as domain user. The foreign providers need to know the policy and rules for running a domain name business in China. And how to register and protect domain name in China is now an important issue that the enterprises should pay attention to.

Chinese government is trying to improve their laws and rules of internet administration service. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of the PRC (MIIT) released a new version of the “Measures for the Administration of Domain Names on Internet” on September 1, 2017. These new measures took effect on November 1, 2017. The rules should further promote the foreign investment to come into the Chinese registration market on one hand; on the other hand encourage the user to choose the registrar, which is a in China registered legal person. At the same time the rules accelerate also the development of domain name with Chinese characters. Continue reading “Domain Name Registration and Protection in China” »

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” »