When a sourcing project gets to a certain size, it often makes sense to set up a permanent presence on-the-ground in China to help manage the supply chain. This series of blog posts covers some of the key areas of consideration when it comes to setting up in China.
The term of a patent in China is 20 years. Patents may be assigned or licensed, but only upon registration with the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO). China is a party to a number of international conventions on patents, including the Paris Convention on the Protection of Industrial Property. PRC copyright law protects creative works, including software.
The National Copyright Protection Center (NCPC) oversees the copyright system. The NCPC oversees a non-mandatory registration process covering both the registration of copyrights themselves and of assignments or licenses thereof.
It would be advisable for a foreign investor to adopt a rigorous approach towards the protection and enforcement of its intellectual property and proprietary rights in the PRC, especially since the enforcement of such rights can be fraught with difficulties in practice.
Some useful best practices that may be worth adopting include:
① ensuring that all intellectual property rights belonging to the foreign investor are accurately and promptly registered with the relevant PRC authorities;
② incorporating anti-counterfeiting technologies (such as inks, labels and foils on the external packaging or products);
③ developing a corporate intellectual property protection strategy; and
④ conducting regular training sessions to raise employees awareness of the importance of protecting the foreign investor’s intellectual property rights.
It should be noted that all intellectual property rights developed by an enterprise’s full-time employees, under the enterprise’s specific instructions and during the course of their employment with the enterprise, will vest in the enterprise. Furthermore, all intellectual property rights which are developed based on intellectual property rights licensed by a foreign investor to the enterprise will also vest in the enterprise.
Written for CSIC by Sophie Mao
China based lawyer at www.AsiaBridgeLaw.com