The EU’s IP Challenge

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Intellectual property rights (IPR) issues must be the thing I am asked about most often in relation to China (and I have recently covered it here, here, and here). So it is no surprise when (as Financial Express reports):

    “Only 9% of 1,000 companies represented by the European Chamber of Commerce in China haven’t been affected by trademark or copyright theft…Violations of copyright and other rules designed to protect inventions and brands from illegal imitation account for as much as 360 billion euros in unlawful trade each year, depriving legitimate business of income, according to the EU. About 70% of counterfeited goods imported into the bloc originate in China, the EU has said.”

There is no doubt that IP risk exists for foreign companies in China (more on the US experience can be seen here) and the EU is now considering action on the issue at the WTO. The problem is that, while the laws are in place in China, enforcement is patchy, and companies should ensure they have an IP protection strategy in place (prevention is better than cure), and that they register their IP (trademarks, patents and domain names) in China – early and broadly (and taking into account Chinese translations and variations of foreign names).

Luckily there is plenty of good advice on these issues. For more information, see China Law Blog and IP Dragon .

See news source:

    EU may challenge China at WTO on piracy of patents
    Financial Express – Bombay,India
    OCT 5: China needs to crack down on the piracy of European patents and trademarks or it will face a legal challenge at the World Trade Organisation, European …
    See all stories on this topic

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