Intellectual property for online education industry

By Zheng Jianwen, VIPKID
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We asked intellectual property inhouse counsel about the challenges in their work and what they see as the most significant legal developments

VIPKID is an online educational technology company, and in terms of its intellectual property (IP) strategy, trademarks, copyrights and patents are all extremely important. In contrast with traditional educational enterprises, VIPKID has a large research and development team, and the efforts we put into invention patents are substantial.

Zheng-Jianwen-VIPKID
Zheng Jianwen
Vice Legal Director
VIPKID

VIPKID’s patents are mainly concentrated into two segments. The first is invention patents, for example big data technologies that enable teachers to better match their students, facial recognition technologies to exam results, etc. We are also working at integrating AI and education, which also falls within out patent filings.

The second is design patents, which includes our cartoon characters and direct and peripheral derivatives, for example plush toys, umbrellas, tents, etc. As an internet company, another part of our designs includes website and software user interfaces.

The online education industry is developing very quickly and as one of the top enterprises in the industry we currently face numerous infringement and trademark/domain name pirating problems.

VIPKID has been continuously battling against infringement and bad faith pre-emptive registrations. For example, we have on numerous occasions effectively cracked down on bad-faith pre-emptive registrations of domain names similar to our trademarks through domain name dispute mechanisms, successfully transferring those domain names to our company.

VIPKID has now established a relatively sound IP mechanism, carrying out IP disposition and duly conducting IP protection work before projects go online.