Slide 1

IPR experience
in China
BCECC, October 2015
Chinese patent law
• 1985 – promulgated, world novelty required
– offices Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai
• 1992 – regulations on implementation
• 1993 – law revised
• 2001, 2008 – further revisions
Original product
Product history
• A very successful existing product
• Thousands of pieces sold worldwide
• Patented in China in 1986 (via Hong
• Installed in Tianjin in 1987 - imported
• Production started in China 09/1988
first copy
Copy history
• 1st copy on Chinese market in 06/1988
• Gained patent case against original 1990
• That copy maker sold 2 times more
products than the original in China
• Copymakers’ price = 50-60% of original
price in China.
War of the 90’s
• All existing products not patentable
• China was booming
• Products for cities and buildings were
important =
enough food for originals
enough food for copymakers
Commercial strategy 90’s
• Another existing model launch at full
speed, several times per year
• Market pays premium for the latest
• Copymakers follow the latest
• Price adaptation after copy shows up
• Technical and quality advantage
• Newly designed models patented regularly
90’s tendering process for
public works projects
• Everybody proposes a product
• The product is chosen by authorities
• Everybody is invited to bid for the same
• Authorities refuse to care about patent
ownership or design authorship
Original product…
… and its copy
… and a product “inspired” by
Another original product…
… and a copy…
And another copy
One more original…
… and a copy
And an “inspired” product
A very appreciated original…
… and some of the many copies
Copy of a French product
Copy of another French product
Copy of a Spanish product
Copy of a German product
21st century
New age – New mood
• Technical spec in public purchases –
levelled and not in focus
• Decorative effect of public projects - IN
Aesthetics of a product became
Copyright law
1990/2001/2010 – WTO, TRIPS
“drawings of engineering designs and
product designs and description thereof”
Practice: what may be deposited as model,
should be…
Present IP situation
• Decent set of laws and implementation
• Established procedures and systems
• Applicable and applied
….whenever unavoidable
Start only those wars you are certain to win!
Trade Mark protection
• October 1995
Request for registration of the logo (left)
• May 1996
Refusal by Trade Mark Office because ‘similar’
to existing TM
Research 2003
• TMs registered since – all local
• Protect your name/TM , in Chinese
characters also
• Build your patents and be cautious with
• Make sure it cannot backfire
• Sign NDA with your personnel in China
• Be prepared for a commercial battle, do
not rely on legal protection only
Thank you