The Beijing air grows frigid, but the China IPR been hard at work producing new information and organising events. A series of blog articles, infographics, and guides have been joined by a comprehensive outreach effort meant to continue expanding the Helpdesk's network of valuable partners. Meanwhile, the Helpdesk has moved forward with preparations for a slew of events both in China and in Europe.
In November, Helpdesk IP Expert Reinout van Malenstein will present at a series of trade fairs across China. He will be on the scene to provide first-line consultations and advice to any SMEs with pressing IP issues. Any interested SME can message him ahead of time to set up one-on-one consultations for more in-depth assessments of their specific needs. The trade fairs Reinout will stop by include:
Information on upcoming training events in Europe, China and Online
An overview of our Industry Spotlights
A trade fair-related guide
News on the latest Helpdesk podcasts, including the upcoming Espresso IP
Our guide of the month
Industry Spotlight - In vino veritas?
In October and November, the Helpdesk has been running the ‘Industry Spotlight’, casting light on industry-specific intellectual property rights (IPR) issues. Each week we seek to provide tailored IP advice for a different industry. Recently, Alex Bayntun-Lees provided an overview of GNSS (global navigation and satellite system) technologies and their evolving and complex IPR in China.
In November, watch for an investigation into IPR for the wine industry, providing sound advice for every aspect of one of Europe's most august industries. While Chinese wine consumption still lags behind many European countries, Chinese consumers' taste for the grape is growing. To capture this demand, some local producers resort to unscrupulous measures, including wine counterfeiting and label imitation. Alex will cover some common forms of IPR infringement, talk to experts on the ground, and give an overview of this dynamic industry. To stay updated on industry spotlights, visit our website or blog and follow us on Facebook, Twitter andLinkedIn.
Infographic: Top 10 IP Considerations
Everyone knows that IP is complex. What not everyone knows is just where to start when protecting one's IP. The new Top 10 IP Considerations infographic addresses just this issue by breaking down IP protecting into 10 manageable steps. Along the way, it offers useful advice which may not always be readily apparent.
Taken with other articles about more sophisticated, technical IP topics, this infographic helps to offer SMEs a holistic IPR protection plan.
Podcasts and Videos
What better way to start the day than with a nice cup of morning coffee--and a little IP protection know-how on the side! Keep your eyes peeled for the Helpdesk's newest podcast series, Espresso IP, which will focus on summarizing absolute IP basics for various countries in under ten minutes. Now, listeners will be able to download helpful IP information (delivered by the Helpdesk's own Alex Bayntun-Lees and Samuel Sabasteanski) to listen to at their leisure on their commute or in their offices.
Finally, a new Youtube video provides a visual guide for SMEs who may want to take the first step in protecting their IPR. With the help of seasoned expert Reinout van Malenstein, the video takes viewers through along a simulated inquiry, from IPR issue to consultation. View the video here.
"How to Secure Effective Evidence at Trade Fairs"
For companies considering moving into international markets, trade fairs are a key channel to introduce your product to the new market, expand your visibility and customer base and seek partners for manufacturing, distribution and retail. For many European SMEs, exhibiting at a major trade fair in China may be the first step towards internationalisation. However, as well as providing business opportunities, trade fairs also pose risks for exhibitors by exposing new products, technology, designs and brands to those who would copy the efforts of others for their own financial gain. In many ways a trade fair can be viewed as a supermarket for local counterfeiters looking for the next great product to copy or brand to appropriate, often to be sold at the same fair that the original product developer would like to exhibit.
This reality of counterfeit products being exhibited at trade fairs in China can be surprising to European visitors. Indeed, many European SMEs first discover their product is being copied when they see it exhibited at a fair. While such experiences can be disappointing for a company who has invested time and resources into developing the product or brand, they also serve as the ideal chance to collect essential evidence needed to stop the infringement. This guide covers why and how to collect evidence, notarisation, and the next steps SMEs should take to protect their IPR.
OFFICIAL FEES FOR CUSTOMS RECORDAL, TRADEMARK APPLICATIONS LOWERED
According to a joint notice from the Ministry of Finance and National Development and Reform Commission of P.R. China, starting from 1 November 2015, the General Administration of Customs of China (GAC) will waive the official fee for Customs recordal (i.e. CNY 800 per recordal). No more official fees will have to be paid for recording trademarks at Chinese Customs. Customs recordal of IP rights is the pre-condition for ex-officio Customs seizure in China. The suspension of payment of official fees shall further encourage right owners to record their IP rights with GAC and seek China Border Customs assistance in IP rights enforcement.
The official fee for filing one trademark application in one Class with a maximum of 10 types of goods/services claimed has been reduced to CNY 600 (from CNY 800) as of 15 October 2015. The official fee for each additional type of goods/service to be added to the application has also been reduced to CNY 60 (from CNY 80). Finally, fees for software copyright registration have fallen to CNY 200.
ALIBABA, CHINESE IP COURTS STEP UP FIGHT AGAINST FAKES
China's booming e-commerce has created new opportunities for businessmen. Nevertheless, these opportunities come with risks, particularly the massive sale of counterfeit goods through Chinese e-commerce platforms such as Tmall, AliExpress, and Taobao. In addition to its standing mechanisms to address online counterfeits, Alibaba has recently partnered with Visualead to launch the Blue Stars platform, which allows manufacturers to print labels with unique codes, similar to QR codes, for each individual product package. When buyers receive a product with the Blue Stars code on it, they can scan the code using Alibaba Group’s app to receive information, including confirmation of authenticity.
China's specialized IP courts have also boosted efforts to smash counterfeiting. According to data released by the Supreme Court, the three Chinese intellectual property Courts shot past forecasts to hear more than 10,000 lawsuits and reach more than 4,000 decisions in the first eight months of 2015. The courts were established at the end of 2014 as part of a broader judicial reform started in 2013 aimed at improving the quality of Chinese courts’ decisions. Wang Chuang, Deputy Director of the IP Department of the Supreme Court, said during a press conference that the number of IP lawsuits increased 37.6% over 2008-2012, 5.5 times faster than other civil lawsuits.
To handle the increasing number and complexity of IP disputes, the Beijing IP court has also set up a database of IP experts who can act as references for judges, said Su Chi, the President of the Beijing Court. The IP court in Shanghai has launched a website in English to make IP decisions available also to foreigners. "IP disputes often involve foreigners and foreign enterprises," said Wu Xielin, President of the Shanghai IP court. "The English website can help them to track their lawsuits and understand how Chinese judges make judgments, which is good for boosting our judicial credibility." Tao Kaiyuan, Vice-President of the Supreme Court, recognized the important results achieved by the three courts and encouraged them to put in place more reforms to advance enforcement of IP in China.
LUIS VUITTON SUES BEIJING JINKAILIDE INTERNATIONAL CLOTHING MARKET
In response to the high number of shops selling counterfeit products in Jinkailide International Clothing Market in Beijing, Louis Vuitton sued Jinkailide International Clothing Market Ltd. before the Beijing Xicheng People's Court for contributory infringement of its IP rights. Luis Vuitton argued that the shops lessor (or landlord) failed to exercise an effective supervision and control on the shops involved, ignored the multiple complaints for trademark infringement, and did not warn the sellers or prevent them from selling counterfeit products. Luis Vuitton requested the court to order compensation for economic losses and other expenses up to 610.000 Yuan (96.000 US$). The case is still ongoing.
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.