Doing business abroad: Protecting your IP in China

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Doing business abroad: Protecting your IP in China

Intellectual property (IP) is a valuable asset that can support your business expansion abroad. A Canadian patent, trademark or industrial design does not secure your rights outside of Canada. You should consider obtaining IP protection in the countries where you plan on doing business, including selling products over the Internet and/or manufacturing products overseas.

China is Canada's second largest trading partner and the economic ties between the countries continue to be strengthened and deepened. It is important to know how to recognize, register and enforce your IP rights in China. There are important differences between Canada and China in the protection and registration process for IP.

In China, you can apply for patent, copyright and trademark protection. If you wish to enter the Chinese market or are already doing business in China, it is recommended that you apply to protect your IP rights in China as soon as practically possible.

Where is IP registered?

The Chinese Trademark Office (CTMO), which is part of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce of the People's Republic of China (SAIC), is responsible for the administration and registration of trademarks. Patents are granted through the National Intellectual Property Administration, PRC (CNIPA) and copyright registration is administered by the Copyright Protection Center of China (CPCC) under the National Copyright Administration of China (NCAC).

If you do not have a business entity in China, an agent or lawyer based in China must be used to file an IP application on your behalf. For your information, the website of the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service provides a list of some Canadian and international IP firms which can provide services directly in China or coordinate work with Chinese associates. Documents for an IP application must be submitted in Chinese.

Trademarks

Patents

IP enforcement

There are several ways to enforce your rights against unauthorized use of your IP in China, including administrative actions, customs seizures and civil litigation. The state may also prosecute offenders under the criminal law. In order to determine the best course of action, you may wish to consult an IP professional.

Tips: Important notes

For additional help:

* The information provided above is meant as an educational resource only and should not be construed as legal advice.

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