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How to Protect Your Intellectual Property in China (The 4-Step Process You Need to Follow)

News & Blog

As the retail industry turns increasingly digital, customers are now more well-informed and connected than ever before. To take on this challenge, and drive significant customer engagement, retailers need to blur the lines between the offline and...

Want to know how to protect intellectual property in China? Then you’ve come to the right place! Luckily, the process to protect IP in China is very similar to the rest of the world, meaning you can use an international process to protect your IP in Canada, China, and most other developed nations in the world. IP protection is incredibly important when doing business abroad, especially if your IP is crucial to your brand’s image and USP. Need to find out how to protect intellectual property in China and beyond? Follow the simple 4-step process below.

1. Perform an audit

Before you go about securing IP protection, you must first ascertain what IP you actually own. Conducting an audit needn’t be complex; you just have to note all the designs, trademarks, and copyrighted ideas that you have, including both the registered and the unregistered ones. Keep copies of all the relevant legal documents which detail your ownership, as well as your licenses to use others’ IP if relevant. Essentially, the aim of this audit is to establish what you own, what you can use, and what permissions you have, collecting all the relevant paperwork along the way.

2. Register your brand

Most companies will register their company name and domain name, although not all will necessarily register their brand as a trademark. You should strongly consider registering your business as a trademark, even if you think your company is too small to get caught up in an infringement case. The problem is that many companies unintentionally infringe on IP and trademarks due to things such as accidentally similar branding and names, among other things. Registering your brand as a trademark gives you the upper hand in cases of infringement, whether intentional or accidental.

3. Consider timeframes

In China, registering IP and patents is something which is quite easy to do, receiving little review when compared to regions such as the EU or Canada. In China, you will be able to register as long as you pay your fee and fill in the right form. However, China does not consider a grace period for applications, something which most other countries do. As a result, you should check that you aren’t paying to register something which will exist already within the public domain during the grace period. If your designs are infringed in China during this time, you will probably lose a court case regardless of the completed registration of your IP in China.

4. Listen to the experts

Although Googling “how to protect intellectual property in China” is a good first step, international IP laws are horrendously complicated, and you ideally require bespoke expert advice from specialists in both Canadian and Chinese intellectual property systems. At the end of the day, you’re trying to understand numerous intricate legal systems and how they relate to one another across international waters, so it is imperative that you find an expert who can tell you how to protect intellectual property in China in more detail.

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