Protecting IP (intellectual property) is a crucial concern for China manufacturers of custom products as well as for the businesses who choose to have their products made in China. Enforcement is a top issue among members of the USCBC (US-China Business Council).
According to a yearly survey, it is a major influence on corporate operations and strategies in China. Today’s infringers and counterfeiters are sophisticated; they use procedural loopholes and reverse engineering to find ways to dilute legitimate trademarks and patents. Below are some steps to help protect your intellectual property (IP) for items made in China:
Create and Implement Corporate IT Strategies in China
The company should begin by conducting a preliminary audit of its Chinese operations to determine IP risks and assets and assign protection levels accordingly. Internal IP controls should be reviewed to determine whether protection is sufficient and changes made based on the results of the IP audit. IP protection should be made a responsibility of the entire management team. Its value and how important the IP is to the management team should be communicated to stakeholders, government officials, contract manufacturers, employees, and customers.
Understand the Legal Landscape of IP
The company should also review China’s laws on copyright, patent, trademark, and unfair competition as well as laws for labor contracts, corporate income taxes, and monopolies. It is important for managers to ensure that the legal protections they are seeking for company IP are available. One example is software products. Those products that can be patent-protected in other countries are most likely protected under Chinese copyright law.
Register Company IP in China
If the company fails to file trademarks and patents for products made in China, its IP is not formally protected. Companies should record eligible IP as soon as possible. Company leaders should understand the IP they may file for can include the items listed below:
- Patents: A company should file with the SIPO (State Intellectual Property Office) for IP that’s valuable to the business’ fringe and core technologies.
- Trademarks: The company should register its core trademarks with China’s Trademark Office including its English name and Chinese character and pinyin names for its core brands. This strategy can counter challenges posed by local competitors who register similar trademarks in different product categories which is permissible under Chinese trademark law.
The professionals at ITI Manufacturing have been balancing IP protection with Chinese manufacturing opportunities for more than four decades. Talk with us today to find out how we can put our expertise to work for your company and your made in China products. Call us at (281) 242-7030.