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The difficulties of protecting IP rights in China

With a population in excess of 1.3 billion people, China is the most populated country in the world.  It also has one of the fastest growing economies and is continuing to see an improvement in infrastructure, education, and overall technology.  Because of this, China would be a great place for any business to operator or sell its products.

While there are some advantages of operating in China, there are some drawbacks as well.  One of the biggest drawbacks of operating and selling products in China is that it is extremely difficult to protect intellectual property compared to other countries.  There are several reasons why protecting intellectual property in China is challenging.  

Developing Law

The first reason why it is hard to protect IP in China is because it still has a developing law in regards to intellectual property.  China’s progression of developing IP is behind the progress of the law in many other countries.  To help encourage the further development of it, IP law has been a major focal point of the US China Business Council, which aims to encourage US and Chinese businesses to interact in each other’s countries.  While the IP law is growing and developing, China is still slow to implement the law and punish those that are guilty of it.  

Requires Filing in China

Another challenge that many businesses have is that China does not enforce intellectual property filings that were done in other countries.  This means that if you were to operate and sell in China, you will need to separately file your IP in China.  Furthermore, the filing process in China, similar to in other countries, can be complicated.  

Counterfeit Frequency

The third challenge that many businesses have to overcome is that China has a very high frequency of counterfeit products.  There are markets all over the big cities in China that are selling counterfeit products of the same item that you could buy in the United States.  One problem that can also be a challenge is that many of these counterfeits are produced before the IP is even filed in China, which makes counterfeit laws harder to enforce.  

For businesses that are looking to grow and expand globally, China provides enormous opportunity.  For those that are looking to expand into China, the first thing that needs to be done is properly protect their intellectual property.  When you are looking to protect your IP, having an attorney that is experienced in dealing with the laws in China would be very beneficial.  

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