It's summertime and the activities of the Helpdesk haven’t stopped with our team participating in the IP Summer School in Bonn and in the Yangtze River Delta SME Forum in Shanghai. In addition to the organisation of events, a prolific generation of publications has been carried out. We have released blog articles, infographics, podcasts and interviews with Helpdesk experts to keep you updated on recent news and legislative trends concerning IPR protection and enforcement in China, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan.
In August we officially launched our Industry Spotlight Month, with the aim of highlighting industry specific IP tips via the ‘Your IP Insider’ blog and this newsletter. Each week, tailored IP advice has been published for the food and beverage industry, information technology industry, fashion industry and mechanical engineering industry.
A unique opportunity for full immersion in your sector of interest!
This Newsletter includes:
Information on upcoming training events in Europe, China and Online
A comprehensive overview of the Industry Spotlight Month
Featured industry-specific guides
The latest Helpdesk podcasts
Our case study of the month: "InterDigital Inc. alleging the infringement of 3G wireless devices"
This month the Helpdesk has been running the ‘Industry Spotlight’, casting light on industry-specific intellectual property rights (IPR) issues. Each week we have provided tailored IP advice for a different industry. Focus has been on: the F&B industry, the IT industry, the fashion industry and the mechanical engineering industry. Click on the banner for more information, and to stay updated on the next industry spotlight editions visit our website,blogand follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.
Infographic: DO's and DONT's You wouldn’t think of starting a business without a HR strategy, market strategy or finance strategy, and for many SMEs an Intellectual Property (IP/IPR) strategy is just as important for planning growth and minimising risk. An effective IPR strategy is essential to the development and success of businesses everywhere. It is best to prevent IPR issues before they arise by carefully guarding and registering your IP assets before entering any new markets, including China. Click on the picture to discover the Do’s and Don’ts of IPR strategy.
As a final treat for EU Food and Beverage SMEs, the China IPR SME Helpdesk expert Reinout Van Malenstein gives some advice for F&B companies looking to make the leap into the lucrative Chinese market. To listen to the podcast, please click here.
In this podcast, the Helpdesk expert Reinout Van Malenstein speaks to us about some key considerations for companies looking to operate in the ICT sector in China. To listen to the podcast, please click here.
Quiz - IPR in the Chinese IT Industry: how much do you know? China’s IPR (intellectual property rights) protection system is expanding and improving, but it remains vastly different from the European system. Accordingly, to be successful in China your business must take preventative measures to protect your intellectual property rights; one must obtain valid IPR rights in China as a minimum first step. Test your knowledge on ICT IPRs in China by taking our quick quiz!
Quiz - IPR in the fashion industry in China: Test your knowledge! China’s fashion industry is set to become the world’s second largest fashion market by 2020, with sales expected to reach over RMB 1.3 trillion (EUR 182 billion). China therefore represents both opportunity, as a manufacturing hub and a maturing consumer market, and risks, as a potential source of counterfeit merchandise. In order to avoid potentially damaging losses, EU SMEs operating in the fashion industry should take measures to protect their intellectual property rights (IPR) in China. Try thequiznow!
InterDigital Inc. alleging the infringement of 3G wireless devices
InterDigital, Inc. is a mid-sized US wireless research and development company. In July 2011, it filed a complaint with the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) against Nokia Corporation and Nokia Inc., Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd and its affiliates, and ZTE Corporation and its affiliate, alleging patent infringement of certain 3G wireless devices, such as WCDMA- and CDMA 2000-capable mobile phones, USB sticks, mobile hotspots and tablets and components of such devices. In December 2011, Huawei filed two suits against InterDigital in the Shenzhen Intermediate People’s Court in China. The first suit alleged that InterDigital had a dominant market position in China and the United States for the licensing of standard essential patents (SEPs) (inventions that must be used to comply with technical standards) owned by InterDigital, and abused its market power by engaging in unlawful practices, including differentiated pricing, tying, and refusal to deal. The second suit alleged that InterDigital failed to negotiate on Fair, Reasonable, and Non-Discriminatory (FRAND) terms with Huawei – a requirement of owners of SEPs. It asked the court to determine the FRAND rate for licensing essential Chinese patents to Huawei and also sought compensation for its costs associated with this matter.
ITALY AND CHINA TO REINFORCE COOPERATION IN INNOVATION AND TECHNOLOGY FIELD
During the Italy-China Innovation Forum held in Milan at the Expo, the Chinese Vice-Premier Wang Yang said that China and Italy should strengthen their cooperation in high technology and innovation. "Technology innovation is one of the topics receiving the most attention in our world, and it is a highlight of the bilateral cooperation between China and Italy," Wang said, noting the current cooperation between the two countries in manufacturing, craftsmanship, new energy, aerospace, research and development. "Cooperation between our countries in these fields is not just focusing on doing business, but also includes the exchange of knowledge and exchange of staff," he said. Wang said that cooperation between China and Italy enjoys the government support, and will bring a number of benefits for both countries. Wang identified five areas of future cooperation: cooperation in strategic sectors, small and medium-sized business cooperation, regional cooperation and cooperation platforms. Wang said that China and Italy should further enhancecooperation in strategic sectors, such as aerospace, alternative energy technology, smart city technology, biotechnology, and nanotechnology. Then, Wang said that Chinese and Italian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) should further cooperate in innovation and technology; to encourage cooperation between Chinese and Italian SMEs, the two countries should improve the protection of IP rights. Further, regional cooperation should be encouraged and synergy between Chinese and Italian businesses from regions with the same expertise be fostered. Lastly, Wang stated that the two countries should increase the number of cooperation platforms, such as research and development centres within their universities.
REPORT OF THE EUROPEAN CHAMBER REVEALS INCREASE IN TRUST OVER CHINESE IPR SYSTEM
A report released in June by the European Chamber in China shows that the majority of European companies conducting business in China recognizes that Chinese intellectual property laws and regulations have substantially improved, although enforcement is still an issue. The 2015 Business Confidence Survey investigated more than 540 European companies operating in China. About 20% of them are large-scale companies with more than 1.000 employees in China, and more than 80 % of them have been in the market for at least five years. The survey results are positive: 8% of the companies rated the effectiveness of China's IP rights system "excellent", a 3% increase compared with the previous year, and 53% judged it "adequate". For what concerns the enforcement of IP rights, the results are less encouraging: 56% of the companies rated enforcement as inadequate, while only 24% of them considered it to be excellent or adequate. Nonetheless, the percentage is nine points lower than last year, while in 2009 the percentage of companies considering enforcement inadequate was 95%. Clearly “change cannot be expected overnight,” to quote the report. "It can be said that the trend is heading in the right direction", Joerg Wuttke, President of the EU Chamber, said. What emerges also from the report is that the European companies feel that they would contribute more to the Chinese economy if they enjoyed stronger IP protection. At the same time, considering the importance of the Chinese market, foreign companies should invest more time and energy in the protection, through a reputable agent, of their IP rights. It is a never ending battle, but the results, as the reports reveals, are worthy the efforts.
ZARA TRADEMARK REGISTERED BY HAIR SALON
ZARA is an internationally well-known fashion retail brand. The trademarks “ZARA”and “飒拉” [Sa La] (ZARA in Chinese) are owned by Inditex in numerous Classes in China but not in Class 44 (covering Hair Salon). In 2011, a Chinese business man, Mr Zhou, opened a hair salon in Fuzhou City, Fujian Province, using on the signboard “ZARA” and “飒拉” [Sa La]. Mr Zhou also filed an application for “ZARA” and “飒拉” [Sa La] and went further expanding his business opening three more salons all “branded” ZARA. In April 2012, Zhou received a warning letter from ZARA China requesting to withdraw the application for trademarks registration. He refused to do so and recently obtained registration for these trademark: China uses the first to file principle, so trademark applications shall be filed in all classes of interest, otherwise other parties may be in the positon to register it. Inditex has started lawsuits against Mr Zhou, so it remains to be seen which turn will the Court take on this specific case, considering the notoriety of the brand.
The China IPR SME Helpdesk, a project co-funded by the European Union supports European small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to both protect and enforce their Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in or relating to China, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan through the provision of free information and services. These take the form of jargon-free, first-line, confidential advice on intellectual property and related issues, plus training, materials and online resources.