As technology advances, it has quickly become a cornerstone for many businesses. Big tech companies, like Apple, create new tech products every year. Others, like Amazon, primarily conduct all of their business online.
Trade secrets have long been one of the most often-overlooked facets of a business’s intellectual property portfolio. Many businesses believe that unless they have a “secret formula” like Coca-Cola’s, they don’t have any trade secrets. However, in most cases, the opposite is true. Almost every business possesses information that is more valuable because fewer people know it.
The Chinese government announced a plan to increase protections for intellectual property rights this week, including more costly fines for violators. The state television report also touched on speeding up the patent application process and shortening trademark waiting time. In addition, the Chinese government will also reportedly begin promoting “IP pledge financing.”
China’s new foreign investment law, which takes effect January 1, 2020, aims to level the playing field between domestic and foreign investors in the country. Delegates at the National People’s Congress (NPC) voted overwhelmingly in favor of the measure in March - just three months after it was introduced. Delegates proposed another version of the law back in 2015.
A World Trade Organization dispute panel announced Friday that the intellectual property case between the United States and China will now be on hold until December 31. According to Reuters, the United States requested the hold on the case - which challenged China’s approach to intellectual property - but did not disclose its reasons for the request.
Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) introduced a bill yesterday aimed at curbing intellectual property theft and unfair trade practices in China. If passed, the China Technology Transfer Control Act would place export controls on technology and intellectual property “important to the national interest of the United States.”
Last week, China’s State Council adopted new trademark regulations aimed at combating bad faith registration. The amendments, based on draft regulation published by the China Trademark Office back in February, address long-standing issues of “trademark squatters” holding trademarks ransom.
Recent proposals for a change in Chinese trade law have U.S. and European businesses feeling cautiously optimistic this week. Current law in China allows regulators to force foreign companies into giving up the rights to their technology in exchange for entry into the Chinese market. However, new legislation may put an end to the practice – if regulators enforce it.
Whether the new tech you have created is software or an impressive new gadget, it can be exciting to watch your hard work pay off once it begins to sell. As you build your business and your brand, you may start to consider licensing what you have created to foreign markets.
Despite intellectual property protection improvements, American businesses remain cautious about doing business in China. IP is at the center of their concerns.