IP in China and Hong Kong: Our Man in China

Jane Lambert

An important part of my work is connected with China. Hardly surprising given the size of its population, territory and GDP and increasing importance in science, technology and the arts. I am often asked to draft or review distribution, joint venture, licensing, manufacturing or other agreements for British businesses that wish to supply, invest in, or import from, China and, increasingly, for Chinese businesses that wish to supply or invest in us.

Yesterday I received an email from Tom Duke who is Her Majesty's IP Attaché to China and Hong Kong advising me of his work.  He wrote:

"My team and I support over 200 British companies a year with IP issues in China. We help companies of all sizes navigate the Chinese IP system, helping to improve their IP outcomes. We publish a regular China IP Newsletter (here) and a series of business factsheets (here). In addition to company support, I also run the UK’s bilateral policy programmes on IP with various Chinese government departments."

Every year Tom's staff hold a series of business outreach events across the UK known as the “China IP Roadshow”. Last year they visited London, Oxford, Manchester, Newcastle and Edinburgh with the aim of increasing awareness of IP in China among British customers.  This year, they plan to include Yorkshire in the itinerary. I have already given Tom some information and suggestions. If anyone would like to be involved in the roadshow I shall be glad to pass on your details to Tom.
I have just glanced through some of Tom's fact sheets and find them all interesting. A good one with which to start is China IP in Numbers.  The statistics are staggering.  Here is what the authors say about trade marks:

"China received 2.88 million single-class trade mark applications in 2015, an increase of 24% from 2014. 96% of applications were from domestic applicants. In the UK, the IPO received 120,792 comparable trade mark applications in 2015. 84% of UK applications were from domestic applicants."

And patents:

"In 2015, China received 1.1 million invention patent applications, up 18.7% from 2014. 87% invention patents were filed by Chinese residents."

By contrast

"The UK IPO received 22,801 patent applications in 2015, including 569 from Chinese residents."

So much for the insulting notion spread by people who really ought to know better that the nation that gave us paper printing and gunpowder is incapable of innovation.

With our retreat from the European Union and growing American isolationism characterized by the USA's withdrawal from the Paris Accords (see Paul Adams Is Trump abandoning US global leadership? 2 June 2017 BBC website) our relationship with China will increase in importance. China has recently announced a massive programme of investment in transport known as "One Belt One Road" (see Manuela Saragossa One Belt One Road 15 May 2017 BBC) which has already seen the first through freight train from China to London (see First freight train from China arrives in London (18 Jan 2017).

If you are doing or contemplating business in China and you want someone to see to the legals or if you have a problem relating to China or Hong Kong, get in touch on +44 (0)20 7404 5252 or send me a message through my contact form.


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