How to Secure Effective Evidence at Trade Fairs in China

Page 1. 1.Protecting your IP at Trade FairsTrade fairs are a great place for European SMEs to introduce their products to China and to find suitable business partners. With the coming spring there will be many opportunities for European SMEs to participate at various trade fairs in China. SMEs planning to participate in trade fairs should however have the full knowledge of what to do if they happen to find infringing products at trade fairs, in order to be able to protect their business. Thus in today’s blog post we have chosen to discuss how to effectively secure evidence at trade fairs in China. 

For companies considering moving into international markets, trade fairs are a key channel to introduce their product to the new market, expand visibility and customer base and seek partners for manufacturing, distribution and retail.For many European SMEs, exhibiting at a major trade fair in China may be the first step towards internationalisation. However, as well as providing business opportunities, trade fairs also pose risks for exhibitors by exposing new products, technology, designs and brands to those who would copy the efforts of others for their own financial gain. In many ways a trade fair can be viewed as a supermarket for local counterfeiters looking for the next great product to copy or brand to appropriate, often to be sold at the same fair that the original product developer would like to exhibit.

Examples of typical infringements found at trade fairs include:

  • Displaying and selling counterfeit products bearing the trade mark(s) identical or similar to others’ registered trade mark(s);
  • Displaying and selling the products counterfeiting other’s patent rights;
  • Utilising others’ copyrighted images, texts in the advertisement and/or company brochure and/or product catalogue;
  • Copying others’ products’ design;
  • Copying the design of another’s exhibition booth.

Why is collecting evidence important?

Evidence is needed for IPR enforcement. No matter which enforcement action is best suited for the company, the European SME will need to prove that its IPR have been infringed by producing a significant volume of evidence. In China’s People’s Court the burden of proof lies with the plaintiff (claimant) and documentary evidence is far stronger than witness testimony. As well as proving ownership via IPR certificates SMEs must prove the infringement via physical evidence including contracts, photographs of infringing products and proof of sale which have been validated by a notary public (a public officer or other person who is authorised to authenticate documents, evidence etc). If SMEs wish to seek assistance from an administrative body (e.g. the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) for trade marks) they must provide a similar body of evidence for the case to be accepted. Continue reading “How to Secure Effective Evidence at Trade Fairs in China” »

Copyright in China: Q&A for the International Comparative Legal Guide on Copyright 2017

copyright, page 2Have a question about Copyright protection in China? Today’s blog post will provide you an answer. Our China IPR SME Helpdesk expert Mr. Charles Feng from East & Concord Partners based in Beijing has kindly drafted for us a very useful and informative blog post on Copyright Protection in China. In this comprehensive Copyright Guide, presented in Q&A format, you will  be able to find answers about how to register Copyright in China, what rights do you have in China and how you can enforce these rights. 

1          Copyright Subsistence

1.1       What are the requirements for copyright to subsist in a work?

Article 2 of the Implementing Rule of Copyright Law of PRC provides that work shall refer to original intellectual creations in the literary, artistic and scientific domain, insofar as they are capable of being reproduced in a certain tangible form.

Therefore, a work protectable under the Copyright Law of PRC must be:

  • original, which means that the work must be originated by the author rather than copied from any other party; and
  • reproducible, which means that the work must be able to be fixed in a tangible form.

Continue reading “Copyright in China: Q&A for the International Comparative Legal Guide on Copyright 2017” »

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” »

Protecting Your IP at Trade Fairs in South-East Asia

Page 1. 1.Protecting your IP at Trade FairsTrade fairs in South-East Asia provide European SMEs with the opportunity to present their innovations and ideas to potential business partners and customers whilst also allowing them to learn from and collaborate with other innovators. There is, however, a risk in that disclosing their innovations to the public may leave them exposed to third parties copying and infringing their IP. Infringement of innovations may not necessarily be straightforward ‘counterfeiting’ – i.e. exact product, packaging and brand imitation. It is more likely that competitors could be using, intentionally or otherwise, a certain part of a European SME’s product or innovation. It is therefore advisable to be as diligent as possible and to get to know your competitors’ products.

SMEs planning to attend trade fairs should therefore be aware of potential for IP infringements and of the measures that they can take to protect their products. A practical and realistic approach must be taken when preparing for and attending trade fairs. IP owners must also be patient and pragmatic, as it is unlikely that immediate action can always be taken against the infringer. There are, however, steps that IP owners can take before, during and after the event to best protect their IP. Continue reading “Protecting Your IP at Trade Fairs in South-East Asia” »

South-East Asia IPR Basics Series: Malaysia, the ASEAN Economic Community, the TPP, and Intellectual Property

shutterstock_30496642_sMalaysia is a South-East Asian nation consisting of sections on the Malay Peninsula and on the island of Borneo, with the South China Sea lying between them. Malaysia’s population of over 30 million works in the world’s 20th most competitive economy (as of 2014-15), with a PPP GDP of $747 billion, making it the third largest in ASEAN and the 28th largest worldwide. Malaysia’s newly-industrialised market economy has consistently posted impressive gains, averaging 6.5% growth per annum over the period 1957-2005.

Continue reading “South-East Asia IPR Basics Series: Malaysia, the ASEAN Economic Community, the TPP, and Intellectual Property” »