Protecting the Interior Design of Shops in China

6. Fashion and DesignIn today’s blog post we are taking a closer look on how European SMEs could protect the interior design of shops in China, as it is not unprecedented that even the design of your shop may get copied. You’ll  learn more about trade dress, copyright and design patent protection as viable options for protecting the interior design of your shop. 

When Brent Hoberman, founder of online interior design and furniture store, made a trip to China one man was particularly keen to meet him. When they met, the man explained that he wanted to launch a web business but had no idea how to do it until he found and copied it. He only wished to express his appreciation personally to Mr Hoberman.

In 2011 the residents of Kunming, a city in the South-Western region of China were delighted to find an IKEA shop there. The copycat store is an enormous, multi-level shop that sells modern IKEA-like furniture and even copies the distinctive blue and yellow branding. The residents realized it was a fake, but have little choice as the closest real IKEA is in Chongqing, 940km away.

Store layouts, colours and designs become synonymous with a brand, so imitation of a store interior is very damaging to companies. At times it is increasingly difficult to separate the real from the fake.

There is a saying in China, 山高皇帝远 (shāngāo huángdìyuǎn), which means the mountains are high and the emperor is far away, a saying that perfectly encapsulates the reason why some counterfeiting still happens in China, particularly in faraway places such as Kunming. Continue reading “Protecting the Interior Design of Shops in China” »

Bodega Branding: The How, What, When, and Why of Wine IPR Protection

wine label-03In our last article we sang a song of growth and prosperity for the wine industry in China, fueled by the staggering figures of industry growth and Chinese wine consumption in recent years. This was tempered somewhat by the somewhat tragic tales of the relatively unimpeded development of a parasitic counterfeiting industry which continues to sap the profits of wine producers, damage reputations, and in some cases harm consumers in the process[1].

Today however we’ll be striking a more positive note, and looking at how producers and distributors can utilise the established IPR protection framework maintained by the People’s Republic of China and defend the reputation of their products.

Continue reading “Bodega Branding: The How, What, When, and Why of Wine IPR Protection” »

Appearances do matter!


Intellectual property rights (IPR) infringements against consumer goods in China come mainly in the form of counterfeits. However, infringement is sometimes not so clear cut. Infringers may target the packaging and visual presentation, rather than the actual contents, functional design, and trade mark logo of a product. For many consumer goods, packaging can be key to the identity of the product and thus its market appeal, meaning a potential loss of sales and harm to the original producer’s reputation if counterfeits reach the shelves.

Continue reading “Appearances do matter!” »