New resources to protect IP in China


In addition to appointing the country's first intellectual property (IP) Counsellor to China, IP Australia has developed new guides to assist Australian business navigate the Chinese IP system.

Earlier this year, IP Australia appointed David Bennett as the IP Counsellor to China, who has worked out of the Australian Embassy in Beijing since early 2017. Mr Bennett assists Australian businesses navigate IP issues with regards to patents, trade marks, designs and copyright. He also engages the Chinese Government on IP policy. 

Mr Bennet's role includes providing guidance on IP registration, enforcement procedures and the court system; developing educational resources; and, liaising with the Australian business community in China. He will also engage with the Chinese Government to address common issues and concerns around IP policy.

This month IP Australia has released their new Guide to Protecting your IP in China - containing all the most important messages in a single document, as well as links to further resources - and Guide to searching the Chinese trade marks register.

As China has opened up to international trade, and recognised the value of attracting overseas innovation, the patent system has taken on greater importance. Internal drivers for effective patent protection are also now stronger than ever. 

The administration and enforcement of IP laws in China is quite different from those in Australia involving a number of different government agencies at state and provincial levels

According to IP Australia, “The Chinese Government has taken steps to make it easier to address enforcement issues by establishing more than 50 IP rights service centres around the country.”

China has a sophisticated but comparatively young patent system, which was developed in the late 1980s and is based on European law. Rights are enforceable, for the Chinese and for foreigners, and while there are still enforcement issues, indications over the past 20 years are that the Chinese government is working towards a stronger and more enforceable patent system.

Prospects for further improvements in the patent system are good with increasing evidence that the Government, courts and administrative agencies are improving. 

It took countries with strong patent systems, like Japan and South Korea, 30 to 40 years to get to the same point.

Australian businesses with IP exposure in China, can access these resources on the IP Australia China webpage.