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How to protect your China IP

By Dan Harris in 'China Law Blog'

Danny Friedmann of IP Dragon wrote a great post entitled, "How to prevent and act upon intellectual property rights infringements in China" that very nicely (and succinctly) sets out exactly how to accomplish that.

Friedmann states that intellectual property infringement is prevalent in China "and a challenge for every company in every industry" but those companies that "take adequate precautionary measures," "anticipate infringements," and "aggressively enforce their rights… can substantially minimize their risks and damages." Danny is absolutely right.

Friedmann advocates companies do the following to protect their intellectual property in China:

  1. Be prepared.
  2. Do your homework. Know the people with whom you are doing business. Get them to sign a "confidentiality agreement [non disclosure agreement, or NDA] before you hand over any sensitive business information." Make sure your contract is clear on who owns what IP rights. "If a potential business partner refuses to sign the contract, find another business partner."
  3. No registration equals no right. With the exception of copyrights, if you do not register your IP in China, you almost certainly have no IP protection. In other words, you must register your trademarks and your patents in China to have your trademarks and patents protected in China.
  4. To trust is nice, to control better. Know what is going on with your IP in China at all times and use "several anti-counterfeit technologies." In other words, do not rely solely on the law to protect your IP in China.
  5. Be ready to enforce. The post then describes the various enforcement options, including administrative, civil and criminal, and where to go for additional information.

A very good post and a must read for anyone interested in protecting their IP in or from China.

Dan Harris is founder of the Harris & Moure law firm, a boutique international law firm focusing on small and medium sized businesses that operate internationally. China is the fastest growing area for the firm. Dan writes as a source of China legal and business information.

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