Thursday, May 31, 2007

The EU's IP Challenge

This was a posting by Jeremy Gordon on the China Business Blog which he wrote about the ways in which IP scandals trouble nearly every company with operations in China. It is just something that must be dealt with and expected.

Intellectual property rights (IPR) issues must be the thing I am asked about most often in relation to China. So it is no surprise when (as Financial Express reports):

  • “Only 9% of 1,000 companies represented by the European Chamber of Commerce in China haven’t been affected by trademark or copyright theft…Violations of copyright and other rules designed to protect inventions and brands from illegal imitation account for as much as 360 billion euros in unlawful trade each year, depriving legitimate business of income, according to the EU. About 70% of counterfeited goods imported into the bloc originate in China, the EU has said.”
There is no doubt that IP risk exists for foreign companies in China (more on the US experience can be seen here) and the EU is now considering action on the issue at the WTO. The problem is that, while the laws are in place in China, enforcement is patchy, and companies should ensure they have an IP protection strategy in place (prevention is better than cure), and that they register their IP (trademarks, patents and domain names) in China – early and broadly (and taking into account Chinese translations and variations of foreign names).

To view the entire article at its original location click on the title of this post

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