China Patent Registration: Protect Your China IP in Product Co-Development
As product co-development between the foreign and Chinese companies are on the rise, the foreign company should actively take advantage of Chinese design patent system to protect their product design. The design patent can be used to ward off third party knock-off manufacturers, as well as to make clear the rights of the foreign entity in the co-development process.
Though a Chinese invention patent is most handy in protecting your IP, it is not an option in product co-development. Instead, a China design patent is a powerful alternative. If the design is registered as a patent, the patent owner can prevent know-off manufacturers from making copycat products. To do so, the foreign entity should first make a formal, written decision with the Chinese company on who owns the right to register the design patent. Next, the foreign entity has to secure the registration before any form of disclosure of the design. Even a promotional photo released to the internet can defeat the right to register a design patent. In addition, it is also advised that the owner register with customs, to prevent the export of knock-off product.
If the foreign company is building the product on top of the Chinese technology infrastructure, then the foreign company cannot assert ownership to the underlying technology being co-developed. However, the foreign company can assert ownership over the unique design it has contributed through a written decision.
Finally, the foreign company should be aware of the fact that: if you don't do it, they will. That is, if you don't actively seek to protect your design, your Chinese partner is very likely to patent your design. The only solution is take action of your own. Our senior Chinese IP lawyers are ready help you take responsibility of your intellectual property in China.