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|IP in China
“Information to help you protect, manage and enforce your intellectual property (IP) rights in?China.
This page provides practical information to help you make the most of your IP when doing business in?China.?
Please note that the page relates to mainland China only; Hong Kong has a separate IP system.
The China IP Attaché team based in Beijing and Shanghai is also available to support UK businesses in navigating the Chinese system.
The China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) is the authority for IP rights including patents, designs, trade marks and geographic indications.
The National Copyright Administration of China (NCAC) is the authority for copyright.
The Chinese trade mark system is similar to the UK’s. Trade marks protect symbols, colours or other devices used to identify a business’ products or services. A trade mark is valid for ten years, then may be renewed indefinitely for further ten-year periods.
To protect a trade mark in China you have two options:
Good to know
You will need to consider whether to register in Chinese characters and pinyin (the Romanised alphabet).
China has a systemic problem with ‘bad-faith’ trade marks – see the relevant factsheet in the ‘More Information’ section for further support.
Like in the UK, patents for inventions can be protected for up to 20 years in China. China also provides protection for utility models (for up to 10 years) and design patents (for up to 15 years). Utility models are sometimes called “mini-patents” and require a lower level of inventiveness. Design patents protect the look of a products and are much like the UK’s registered design rights. All patent rights in China are subject to the payment of annual fees after they’ve been granted.
To protect your innovation with a patent in China you have two options:
Good to know
China operates a ‘first to file’ principle. If two people apply for a patent on an identical invention, the first one to file the application will be awarded the patent. Ensure that your patent application is translated accurately into Chinese when filing in China. Submission of faulty translations could make it harder to get your patent granted or enforce it in the future.
China allows you to apply for both invention and utility model patents for the same invention. You might want to consider filing an invention patent and a utility model patent simultaneously for the same subject matter. Utility models are cheaper to apply for and often quicker to get granted.
Designs are covered by the Chinese Patent Law with protection for a maximum of 15 years.
To protect the appearance, shape or configuration of your product, you can apply for a design patent yourself, or (recommended) through a representative (e.g. a patent agent), directly to the CNIPA.
Good to know
As of 1 June 2021, China has introduced partial design protection though until the change is fully implemented applications can only be made in paper form or offline.
China’s copyright framework provides all of the basic protections required by international law. Copyright owners do get automatic protection through Chinese law. However, it is recommended that copyrighted work is filed (known as ‘copyright recordal’) at the Copyright Protection Centre of China for a fee. Copyright recordal is voluntary but helps to provide evidence of copyright ownership before a court or relevant enforcement authority.
Good to know
For software, parts of source code may be redacted (obscured) in the copyright recordal to protect trade secrets.
Enforcing your rights
The main options for enforcing your IP rights in China include administrative action, customs seizure and civil litigation. The State may prosecute offenders under the Criminal Law for several types of severe infringement.
Administrative action – the first step is to file a complaint with the local office of the appropriate administrative organisation. Trade mark and counterfeiting cases are often straightforward, especially where the infringement itself is unambiguous. For those involving patents and copyrights, however, the administrative authorities’ enforcement powers are less clear-cut. You will also need to collect evidence in order to trigger a raid.
Civil litigation – an action may be started in a local court. There are several advantages to this, including the deterrent effect of a high-profile court case and the potential for the award of damages. However, civil cases usually mean a longer timescale and greater bureaucracy.
The customs system in China is unusual for its ability to intercept fakes on export as well as import. China Customs relies on the intelligence it receives about illegal shipments. You can help them by pre-filing recordal of your IP rights with Customs, and passing on the names of known counterfeiters, routes and the details of genuine goods.
The IPO provides more specific information on registering and protecting your IP in China.
Visit the exporting to China pages for more information about doing business in China.
The China Britain Business Council (CBBC) offers intellectual property protection advice, enforcement support and access to IP professionals, to businesses entering and growing in the China market.”
|31 Aug 2021
|IP in Brazil
“Information to help you protect, manage and enforce your intellectual property (IP) rights in Brazil.
This page provides practical information to help you make the most of your IP when doing business in Brazil.
If you plan to do business in Brazil, or if you are already trading there, it is essential to know how to manage and enforce your IP as private property rights.
British businesses looking for access to intellectual property advice and support should contact our Brazil IP Attaché, based in the Consulate General, Sao Paulo.
The National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) is the body responsible for operating the patent, utility model, industrial design and trade mark system in Brazil.
The Copyright Office of the National Library is the main registration authority of copyright.
The information on these sites, however, is predominately in Portuguese.
The Brazilian trade mark system is similar to the UK’s. Trade marks protect symbols, colours or other devices used to identify a business’s products or services. A trade mark is valid for ten years, then may be renewed indefinitely for further ten-year periods.
To protect a trade mark in Brazil you have two options:
Good to know
Documents submitted to INPI must be in Portuguese or provide a translation within 60 days.
Like in the UK, patents for inventions can be protected for up to 20 years in Brazil. Brazil also provides protection for utility models for up to 15 years. Utility models are sometimes called “mini-patents” and require a lower level of inventiveness. All patent rights in Brazil are subject to the payment of annual fees after they’ve been granted.
To protect your innovation with a patent in Brazil you have two options:
Good to know
Brazil operates a ‘first to file’ principle. If two people apply for a patent on an identical invention, the first one to file the application will be awarded the patent.
Ensure that your patent application is translated accurately into Portuguese when filing in Brazil.
INPI currently has a large backlog of patent applications, this can lead to significant delays in granting patents.
In Brazil, you can protect the appearance, shape or configuration of your product by applying for an industrial design right at INPI. If your application meets the legal requirements (for novelty, originality and is able to be reproduced at scale), it will be registered immediately.
Good to know
The registration for an industrial design is valid for 10 years from the filing date and can be extended for three consecutive five-year periods.
As in the UK, copyright is an automatic right under Brazilian law.
Copyright in Brazil protects original artistic, literary and scientific expressions, text, music, works of art such as paintings and sculptures, as well as technological works, for example, computer programs and electronic databases.
As a general rule, the Copyright Law sets the duration of economic rights for a period of 70 years counted from 1 January of the year following the author’s death.
Good to know
Although protection is automatic, you may want to register your work with the Copyright Office of the National Library in Brazil. Registration is voluntary but helps to provide evidence of copyright ownership before a court or relevant enforcement authority.?
Enforcing your rights
If you believe that someone is using or benefitting from your IP rights without your consent, it is advisable to seek legal advice at an early stage.
Issues with IP infringement can often be dealt with directly with the alleged infringer. For example, using mediation, ‘cease and desist’ letters or through a licensing arrangement. If you do choose to take legal action, there are two main levels at which IP rights may be enforced in Brazil:
(a) Civil action – a legal expert will be able to help you navigate the court system and build a civil case against someone infringing your IP rights. You may be able to use this route to stop the person or business using your IP and seek compensation for damages. Brazil has no specialist IP courts, so ordinary civil courts deal with IP cases.
(b) Criminal prosecution – some infringement actions may also constitute a criminal offense under Brazilian law. A criminal complaint must be preceded by a search and seizure action, which aims to collect evidence rather than halt the infringement. You may wish to seek legal advice for further information on the process.
The IPO provides more specific information on registering and protecting your IP in Brazil.
|31 Aug 2021
|European Union (EUIPO), WIPO, WIPO
|New tool for the examination of International Design Registrations
“The EUIPO has launched a new tool for the examination of International Design Registrations designating the European Union (EU). This tool has been developed in collaboration with the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) and is part of the back office of our examiners.
The new back office has been designed to increase the efficiency of design examination, including specific features to assist in the assessment of the consistency between the design views.
In addition, when the Office accepts an international design designating the EU, we will now send our customers a cover letter confirming the new protection granted within the EU via WIPO.
This is one of many initiatives that the EUIPO is undertaking to support small businesses and that are part of our 2025 Strategic Plan. Designs are a powerful driver for improving economic indicators. In fact, design-intensive industries account for 30.7 million direct jobs and contribute 16.2% of the EU’s total GDP according to the IP Contribution study.”
|23 Aug 2021
|European Union (EUIPO), Finland
|SMEs: Get financial support to make use of your intellectual property
“Small and medium-sized companies now have the opportunity to receive financial support in order to make use of their intellectual property and to develop control over it. The support is granted by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).
Read more about the IP pre-diagnostic service.
How and when to apply
There are five designated application periods in 2021. The next application period begins on 1 September 2021.
Read the checklist for applicants before you apply.
|01 Sep 2021
|Hague System Stories: Diving Deeper into Design with Seacsub
“What is the first country that springs to mind when you think of design? For many in Europe, Italy is surely a front-runner. From fashion and cars, to furniture and architecture, Italy is globally recognized as a trendsetter and a leader in the world of design.
Strategically located midway between luxurious Portofino and UNESCO World Heritage Site “Cinque Terre”, the small town of San Colombano Certenoli is home to leading designers in quite a different domain. Seacsub S.p.A. specializes in scuba diving, snorkeling and spearfishing equipment. Their ‘Unica’ full-face snorkeling mask is perhaps one of their best-known products and most successful design.
Unica in the spotlight
For almost a century, snorkeling masks have remained essentially the same, with limited design innovation. Although full-face snorkeling masks started to appear on the market, they were heavy, cumbersome and unappealing. Seacsub came up with such a game-changing design with their Unica fullface mask, that they have completely revolutionized snorkeling, setting the bar very high from the customer experience perspective.
The motivation behind the mask? To make the wonders of the underwater world accessible to everyone – even the youngest and most inexperienced – and to make snorkeling a comfortable, natural and enjoyable experience. Their creation has become ubiquitous.
Moving away from heavy, rigid, one-size fits all masks, Unica’s design – which is both practical and adaptable – is light, comfortable and visually attractive. An added bonus; it comes in four different sizes – two for children, two for adults. With ever-increasing demand, Unica – to Seacsub’s surprise – was within no time at all available even in supermarkets and toyshops. The design has been a huge success and is commonplace in the ocean and swimming pools alike.
From fun in the water to safety in the current COVID-19 crisis
In March 2020, with the COVID-19 pandemic reaching a peak in Northern Italy and personal protection equipment in short supply, Seacsub’s engineers used their design and innovative flare to transform Unica into an essential device for Italy’s front-line medical workers.
How? By removing the snorkel and using a specific adaptor, they were able to add compatible filters. The result? A reusable piece of personal protective equipment that the Italian Government quickly endorsed for use as an effective tool to protect against COVID-19.”
|31 Aug 2021
|UK IPO launches new IP support scheme
“The government will pay up to £5,000 to help SMEs protect and commercialise their IP as part of a new strategy to support a post-pandemic recovery.
Available to SMEs and innovative businesses, the IP Access grants can be put towards a number of costs including professional fees for IP services and management of IP assets.
The scheme intends to provide businesses with the confidence and financial support to invest in their IP, allowing them to develop and grow securely.
This is an extension of the UK IPO IP Audits Plus programme. It provides businesses with additional funding to take forward some of the recommendations provided within the IP audit report.
Companies that have completed a part-funded IP audit between April 2020 and March 2022 with an IP audit plus partner are eligible to apply. This money can be used to cover service costs related to:
It cannot be used for the official fees for filing trade mark, registered design or patent applications.
Applications for IP Access are now open and will remain open until 12pm on the 31st March 2022.
For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org“
|31 Mar 2022
|IPO CZ HAS STARTED THE TRANSFER OF ITS EMAIL ADDRESSES
“IPO CZ has started the transfer of its email addresses to a new domain, upv.gov.cz. Clients may receive email messages from addresses in that domain. The change will be gradual until the end of 2021.
We would like to ask the public to primarily communicate with the Office using the domain upv.cz.”
|31 Aug 2021
|Electronic Window of the Intellectual Property Registry -VERPI- from August 20, 2021
“The Intellectual Property Registry makes available the new electronic notification service, through the electronic window of the VERPI Intellectual Property Registry.
The purpose is to facilitate and expedite communication between the user and the Intellectual Property Registry.
With this tool you can notify from any device connected to the internet and from anywhere. You can register at ventanilla.rpi.gob.gt .
This is another advance in the line to achieve digital transformation in intellectual property services for the benefit of users of this registry.”
|20 Aug 2021
|The SPTO signs four new collaboration agreements on industrial property with the following platforms and technological associations: AIMPLAS, PLATECMA, PTECO2 and SOLAR CONCENTRA – PROTERMOSOLAR
The following update has been translated from Spanish.
“The Spanish Patent and Trademark Office OA (OEPM) has recently signed four collaboration agreements, each lasting four years, with the following platforms and technological associations:
The purpose of these agreements is to promote the competitiveness of Spanish industry in the field of innovation and its protection through Industrial Property (hereinafter, IP). For this, the corresponding resolutions contemplate carrying out joint activities, such as training sessions on IP rights, which aim to publicize the use of the technological information services offered by the SPTO, the mechanisms for the protection of results research and technological development, in addition to offering each Platform the necessary support in the protection of its intangible assets in order to facilitate, promote and stimulate the knowledge and use of IP rights.
This collaboration with AIMPLAS, PLATECMA, PTECO2, Solar Concentra and PROTERMOSOLAR will allow to boost the competitiveness of the Spanish industry in the field of innovation and protection of the same in the corresponding sectors, and to establish bidirectional channels of institutional communication between the SPTO and each Platform specific.
On the other hand, the different platforms and associations that sign these agreements undertake to disseminate the importance and usefulness of IP, as well as its observance and the need to combat counterfeiting within their programs of activities.
The agreements thus signed are a cooperation tool for the promotion of IP and its benefits in the scientific, economic and social development of our country.
|31 Aug 2021