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Preventing China counterfeiting: The basics

by Dan Harris

When Christmas is approaching, China counterfeiting goes into overdrive, and this year has been no different. The real trick to reduce counterfeiting is to do the things earlier in the year that can help to prevent it. The more you do before you face an infringement problem, the less likely you are to have an infringement problem and the more that can be done to stop the infringement problem once it starts.

At minimum, we recommend the following:

  • Register your trademarks and copyrights with China customs as soon as your registration is complete.
  • Do not allow your manufacturers to sub-contract the production of your products.
  • If you do allow your manufacturers to subcontract the production of your products, enter into a separate agreement with the subcontractors that will protect your intellectual property.
  • Have an OEM agreement with your manufacturers that imposes liability on them them in the event of infringement by any of their subcontractors.
  • Enter into a formal mold agreement that makes clear that your molds belong to you and that imposes a significant monetary penalty on the primary contractor if your molds disappear.
  • When contractors/subcontractors are changed, immediately seek to locate your molds and get them back. Do not wait. Much of the counterfeiting we see stems from missing molds.

If you do the above, your chances of having an intractable counterfeiting go way down. If you do not do the above, they go way up. It is that simple.


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 ChinaLawBlog.com as a source of China legal and business information.

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