Provides advice on IPR protection, including information on the registration of patents and trademarks.
Last Published: 7/30/2019
Intellectual property theft is widespread in China, but firms can and must take steps to protect and enforce their intellectual property rights.  Firms should consider several general principles for effective management of their intellectual property.  China presents unique challenges due to the size of its market and ongoing difficulties implementing a robust IPR protection and enforcement system. 
 
Since joining the World Trade Organization in 2001, China has strengthened its legal framework and amended its intellectual property (IP) laws and regulations to better comport with international practices. However, despite stronger statutory IP protection, China continues to be a haven for counterfeiting, digital piracy, and IP theft. Most world trade in counterfeits originates in China, and most counterfeit products seized at the U.S. border are manufactured in China. In addition, China’s digital piracy rate is one of the highest in the world. The Office of the United States Trade Representative and the Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property estimate that Chinese theft of American IP costs the United States between $225 billion and $600 billion annually.
 
Chinese agencies and courts have expressed a commitment to addressing the problem, and progress has been made, particularly in China’s first-tier cities. However, U.S. companies doing business in China continue to face a range of IP challenges, including bad-faith trademark registrations, trade secret theft, online piracy and counterfeiting, adverse technology transfer requirements, and rigorous IP ownership and research and development localization requirements. Structural impediments to administrative, civil, and criminal IP enforcement also pose obstacles to protecting companies’ IP rights in China.
 
Companies planning to do business in China should understand that the U.S. and Chinese IP legal systems are different. For example, registration of rights in the United States does not automatically confer rights in China. It is important to become familiar with the differences between the two systems and to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy for protecting IP in China.
 
 
IP Attaché Contacts:
 
Beijing:
Duncan Willson
U.S. Embassy Beijing
55 Anjialou Road
Chaoyang District
Beijing, China 100600
T: 86-10-8531-4812
Duncan.Willson@trade.gov
 
Shanghai:
Vacant (Contact Duncan Wilson)
U.S. Consulate General Shanghai
Shanghai Center, East Tower, Suite 631
1376 Nanjing West Road
Shanghai, China 200040
Office Phone: +86 21-6279-8558
 
Guangzhou:
Conrad Wong
U.S. Consulate General
43 Hua Jiu Road
Guangzhou, China 510623
Office Phone: +86 20-3814-5533
Conrad.Wong@trade.gov

 

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China Economic Development and Investment Law