A Reason to Celebrate

Dragon dances, red lanterns and exploding firecrackers all mark the start of the Chinese New Year but a new year is not the only reason for celebration.

The government is making great progress in strengthening IP protection in China.


How is IP protection in China changing?

Last year the Chinese government introduced important changes to the intellectual property system, including reforms to the trademark law and the establishment of the country's first specialized stand-alone IP Courts in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.
The courts will handle trials on patent and trademark infringements and are expected to lead to higher quality and more consistent IP decisions.

"This will be an important revolution of the country's judicial system to deal with IP-related cases," said Wang Chuang, the deputy presiding judge with the IP division of China's Supreme Court. "It's also a step to promote the development of China's emerging industries," he said at a press conference last November to launch the courts.

At the same time the State Intellectual Property Office also announced a plan in January 2015 to roll out a National IP Strategy Outline with the clear goal of building China into an "IP powerhouse by 2020."

"We need to explore a suitable path ... [that] enables China's IP work to reach the world's advanced level," said SIPO Commissioner Shen Changyu .

These measures are signaling a commitment on the part of the Chinese government to bring the country's IP protection laws in line with those of the rest of the world. This is great news for international companies wanting to file patents in China as well as Chinese innovators seeking more robust protection of their patents.

Neil Simpkin, Technical Director for RWS Group says: "The country is opening up, and whereas 10 years ago there wasn't a very resilient system, the government has made huge progress in strengthening IP protection and stamping down on piracy."

What has prompted the changes?

As we've seen in our previous blog post there has been an upsurge in patent filing activity - both from international and national patent filers in China.

The country's opening to international trade and investment in recent years has resulted in fast economic growth. Experts have noted that as innovation and technology continue to grow, the country will become more protective of intellectual property rights because its citizens have property to protect.

What this means for IP professionals:

Although some patent lawyers question whether the latest reforms will be enough to make a difference on the ground when it comes enforcing IP rights in China, there has been a definite improvement over the years and consensus among experts seems to be that these changes are definitely a step in the right direction.

For foreign companies wanting to manufacture in China or sell their products in this growing market, it is vital to perform a careful freedom to operate analysis and to recognize the need to play by local rules. Click here for

Our strong and growing presence in China combined with solid knowledge of the IP system and strategic partnerships with leading Chinese universities make us ideally placed to assist clients wishing to protect their IP in China.
Read more about this collaboration in our previous post.

Founded in 2006 by a former China and UK patent attorney, RWS China has an excellent understanding of the culture and strong local ties with business, government and academic institutions. Services include patent and legal translations, foreign filing as well as patent information and searches. 

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