Once China joined the World Trade Organization, it has strengthened its legal framework and amended its intellectual protection rights’ laws and regulations to comply with the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights.
In other words, protection of intellectual property in China needs to be configured based on proactive and defensive practices that provide barriers against both leakages from within the organization and external attacks.
Chinese companies must make their own choices regarding the structures, objectives and capabilities which are most applicable to their operations in China. This may be the most important organizational practice, since the ability to protect companies is the best way to succeed here.
Our Chinese lawyers will provide specific assistance on how to protect intellectual property in China.
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External defensive practices regarding IP in China
Some of the following practices and processes provide the initial elements companies can use in protecting IP in China:
• Developing strategic clarity – This practice identifies the specific IP that allows the company to execute its strategy, aligned with its objectives for operating in China. Strategic clarity means being clear about its objectives when entering the Chinese market.
• Collecting business intelligence – It enables executives to learn about local customer values, supply chain threats, local labor market dynamics, needs and expectations and locations where IP protection may be most effective.
• Following legal fundamentals – It’s important that foreign companies contact Chinese lawyers who know the legal system well enough, so that they won’t base their IP management practices on their home countries’ legal systems. Our lawyers in China will provide documented guidance and trustworthy assistance in the matter.
• Creating interest alignment – This is an essential intellectual property protection practice that relies on a complex set of relationships (with employees, costumers, communities, supply chain partners, governmental officials etc) in order to function.
Internal IP protection practices in China
Once the externally focused practices are kept in mind, they will be able to prevent IP leakage. Of course, there are also some internal processes that are important when talking about intellectual property protection:
• Disaggregate processes – IP imitators are often not able to access the complete structures needed to replicate processes or products, but only a piece of the IP. So, in order to protect it, highly skilled talent should be moved to other international location, despite the fact that the work is China-related.
• A control discipline implementation – Practices that constantly emphasize the vital importance of internal IP protection will determine employees to pay attention on the matter and act accordingly to support protection.
• Dynamic solutions – In order to ensure the best Chinese IP protection, it’s essential for corporations to continuously develop new protection solutions. Our Chinese attorneys can give further information on what ways are proper for protecting IP in China.
• Human resources managed strategically – The selection of personnel with integrity and compatible ethic values with the company must go hand in hand with the executives’ understanding local labor market dynamics. A great strategy could be the development of reward systems for employees that will help reinforce desired behaviors.
• Corporate social responsibility activities for employees – This kind of focused practices can build legitimacy and sense of justice and can keep companies away from IP leakage.
Please contact our law firm in China if you want to find out more guided practices and solutions on how to protect intellectual property in China.