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” »

Protecting your IP whilst Transferring Technology to South-East Asia

xiandaishangwu2_221In today’s blog post, the Helpdesk team will provide you some valuable tips on how to safely transfer your technology to South-East Asian countries.

In recent years, European SMEs have started to look to the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) to be a key player in the investment and development of several different types of technologies across a multitude of industries. Relatively low labor costs, high skill levels and diversity in the level of development across the region, enabling South-East Asia to attract a range of technologies, are making the region so attractive for the European SMEs.

Whilst accessing the lucrative South-East Asian markets, the European SMEs are often willing to ‘transfer’ some of their technologies and designs to local subsidiaries of European firms, joint-venture partners, or local manufacturing and service companies. One of the challenges facing European companies coming to South-East Asia is devising creative solutions to minimize the risk to their intellectual property associated with technology transfers. A technology transfer can happen in a number of different ways. European companies most commonly transfer their technology by licensing their patents, designs, software, trade secrets, and know-how.  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, such as those based on product designs, must deal with the same risks to their IP as their high technology counterparts. Continue reading “Protecting your IP whilst Transferring Technology to South-East Asia” »

Industry Spotlight: IPR Strategies in China for Cleantech Industry

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MC900437625China is the fastest growing market for wind and nuclear power generation, and is investing heavily in exploring alternative, renewable means of addressing its immense energy needs. With a large potential cleantech market, and strong government support for the development and adoption of new clean technologies, China presents great opportunities for European cleantech SMEs.

China’s large market potential means that cleantech businesses cannot risk losing a strategic foothold in China by waiting to act. However, cleantech businesses that enter China need to understand that while good execution, effective management, and access to financing is critical to maintaining a competitive advantage, protecting good technology is also equally critical. Although technology transfer can be structured in a way that minimises IP risk, additional preparation and measures directed at the IP environment in China need to be considered as well.

How IP fits into an overall business strategy will depend on whether the firm is a start-up or a growth business, and also whether the technology itself is new and untested in the market, or mature and ‘off-patent’ (technology that is no longer protected by patent). Different businesses will use IP to achieve different objectives, such as to maximise revenue-generation by monetising their IP portfolio through licensing, increase opportunities for partnerships and cross-licensing, or bar new market entrants. Continue reading “Industry Spotlight: IPR Strategies in China for Cleantech Industry” »

Back to the Basics Series: Protecting Trade Secrets in China Part II

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ConfidentialLast week we explored Chinese laws on trade secrets and discussed some measures that the SMEs can take to protect their trade secrets. This week we get more practical and discuss how the SMEs can use non-disclosure agreements and confidentiality agreements to protect their trade secrets. We will also take a look at the measures the SMEs can take, once the trade secrets have been illegally revealed.

Nearly all businesses in all industries and sectors possess trade secrets. Trade secrets are a valuable and highly useful form of intellectual property right (IPR). As the name suggests however, trade secrets are a non-registrable form of intellectual property; they only enjoy legal protection as long as they are not disclosed publically. It is therefore crucial to prevent your trade secrets from being divulged in the first place. Once out, there is usually very little you can do about it. This concluding piece of a two-part article describes measures you can take to help ensure trade secrets aren’t lost through employees and third parties as well as options available to you should your secrets be disclosed. Check the last issue of Eurobiz for part I of this series which outlined how to identify a trade secret and the physical, technical and contractual barriers you can put in place to protect them.  Continue reading “Back to the Basics Series: Protecting Trade Secrets in China Part II” »

South-East Asia IPR Basics Series: Protecting Trade Secrets in Thailand

CaptureIn today’s fast paced and information reliant world of business, trade secrets can make or break a company’s chances for success.

Now everybody knows that the best way to keep a secret is… well to keep it secret. But if you absolutely have to tell somebody, this article should give you some pointers on how to protect your business against information leakage in Thailand.

At the Helpdesk we always advise that SMEs seek professional legal advice when dealing with complex issues, and this is never more important than when drafting contracts and Non-Disclosure Agreements etc. However, if you need some help finding appropriate legal help, or just need some pointers as to what you should be looking for, get in touch with our experts today!

Continue reading “South-East Asia IPR Basics Series: Protecting Trade Secrets in Thailand” »