Are we entering a new era for IP protection in China? Or are infringement and compliance issues singing the same old song? Leo Long looks for answers from in-house counsel
Officials are dubbing it China’s “IP era” – a time when enforcement and regulation finally catches up with the rightful needs of innovative enterprises and the nefarious deeds of infringers.
As internet and mobile penetration gain momentum in China, awareness of intellectual property (IP) rights has certainly improved. And developments in the past year have been frequent, in some cases remarkable. A number of high-profile cases has captured the attention of in-house IP managers, top of the pile being a multibillion-renminbi fine following an investigation into multiple patent holder Qualcomm.
Meanwhile the ongoing battle for IP protection has expanded deep into the internet and virtual domains. Domain name disputes over “quna.com” and “weixin.com” were among the most high-profile cases in the past year.
Add to that new regulation and a number of benchmarks and yes, an “IP era” is perhaps a feasible observation. For instance, the case surrounding John Deere’s colour combination trademark was the first of its kind since colours became a category under the protection of the Trademark Law in 2001.