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IP in China

The Increasing Bite of IP in China

January 22, 2009

China is often cited as a high risk country for organisations to effectively enforce their intellectual property rights. There are however, a growing number of success stories where brand owners have successfully enforced their rights through the courts.

For example, it was reported in yesterday’s news that German Automotive company MAN A.G. has won an intellectual property lawsuit against a Chinese bus maker who copied the design of their ‘Starliner’ bus. The Chinese manufacturer has however vowed to appeal the ruling.

It is not just foreign brand owners enforcing rights against home grown manufacturers. In March last year, Nestle, who is based in Switzerland  managed to secure 200,000 Yuan (about £20,000) compensation from a Dutch competitor  for copying the design elements of a milk powder on sale in China – read more here.

The number of foreign owned trade mark cases is continuing to increase in China. The Chinese State Administration For Industry and Commerce (SAIC) reported a 25.6% increase in the number of foreign brand cases reaching court than on previous years . There is a similar increase in domestic trade mark infringement actions between Chinese companies as well – brand proprietorship in the Chinese economy has become central to many manufacturers’ success.

Whilst it is fair to say that tackling counterfeit goods remains a perennial problem for brand owners in emerging markets such as China, the increased presence and strength of domestic as well as international brands in economies such as China can only continue to promote the cause of IP brand owners.