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4 Things You Must Know about IP Protection in China

There are many things that businesses need to know before they start operating in China, and IP protection is one of them. It’s particularly important to be aware of these things if you’re doing business in the Chinese market—or any emerging market, really. Here are four things you need to know about IP protection in China that could help save your business down the road.

1) Don’t forget you are a foreigner

Protecting your intellectual property rights (IPR) can be a tricky process in any country. It’s even more complex when dealing with a foreign jurisdiction like China, which has its own set of laws and customs that are different from what you may be used to. While no one likes to think they might ever need to use IP protection methods, these can be an important asset if you do start to experience problems. However, before seeking legal help or going after someone for infringing on your IPR, remember that many IP cases fail because companies make basic mistakes; it pays to know some of them before taking action. For example: Don’t forget you are a foreigner – While Chinese laws should protect you against infringement, don’t assume that they will.

Remember that there is always a chance that local law enforcement will not support you, so it’s important to have backup plans in place. Remember who owns what – In China, registered trademarks are owned by their registrant rather than being assigned based on where products are sold. This is opposite of most countries and means you could end up losing ownership over your trademark simply by not registering it properly. Use multiple forms of IP protection – Just as businesses in China often use multiple locations for manufacturing facilities and offices, they also tend to rely on multiple forms of IP protection such as patents, trademarks and copyrights.

2) The first step – register your trademark in China

To fully protect your intellectual property (IP) rights, you need to register for trademark protection in China. There are three ways to do so: through a representative, through an agent, or directly at a Chinese national or regional trademark office. Registering directly at a Chinese national or regional trademark office is fastest and cheapest. However, if you don’t speak fluent Mandarin, you will likely want to use an agent instead. The best agents have years of experience with trademarks in China and can help guide you through all of the paperwork necessary to file your application successfully.

Once you have registered your trademark, be sure to maintain it by filing periodic renewal applications before expiration. Failing to renew could mean losing all legal protections afforded by registration—and that includes preventing others from registering a similar mark. If someone else does register a similar mark after yours has expired, they can legally block any attempt by you or anyone else to register it again in future. This process is called trademark squatting and it happens more often than many people realize.

The most common type of copyright protection is through registration with CIPA (China Intellectual Property Office). This will ensure your work enjoys legal protection.

A trademark can be registered with SAIC (State Administration for Industry & Commerce) or SIPO (State Intellectual Property Office) after you have completed examination and approval procedures. In addition to providing exclusive rights for your trademark, it also provides you with rights over its use in court if necessary. The most important thing when registering a trademark is making sure it has not been registered by another party first; otherwise you may face difficulties if you want to register it later on.

3) How do I protect my brand?

In your work, you are likely to produce some inventions and creations. If you have not registered them through copyright registration or patent registration with competent departments, you cannot enjoy their legal protection. So when creating something new, make sure it is intellectual property before releasing it to other parties for commercialization. This will enable you to set up a solid foundation for protecting your rights and interests.

Try to incorporate an effective copyright notice on all original works: Copyright is defined as a form of personal ownership that protects original works of authorship including literary, architectural and artistic works from being used by others without permission or compensation.

4) What to do if IP disputes arise?

After registering (or not), you should definitely keep your records – business contracts and anything else that may be needed later on when trying to prove your rights. Do not destroy anything! Business contracts between you and your distributor can be some of these important documents. Check with a local attorney before entering into such agreements as there are standard clauses that often appear in them. These clauses can have negative impacts on protecting your Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in China.

If a dispute does arise, there are various ways to resolve it. One is through your local courts or trade organizations and those abroad if necessary. There are lots of examples, such as fair hearing before all members of Beijing Arbitration Commission and seek help from other departments (e.g., State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) and National Copyright Administration). As an alternative, many foreign companies can solve their problems by going to local technology offices for consultation at any time. If you still have no solution after consultations with them, you may sue an infringer directly by yourself or apply for administrative assistance from SIPO. The most important thing is to make every effort when protecting your IPRs in China as once lost there is often no chance of recovering them again.

It’s always better to take precautions before it’s too late, such as finding a reliable production facility with their own IP protection zone. Shield Works is one of them. The facility also provides different types of IP protection services via the partnership with a leading IP industry expert in China. Feel free to contact us if interested in more!