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Protection of IP is key issue for China trade

01 Sep 2022 / IP Print

Protection of IP is key issue for trade with China

Intellectual property rights (IPR) protection and enforcement are a major challenge for EU businesses wishing to expand into new markets, the European Commission has said.

While significant legislative progress has been made in recent years, protection and enforcement is still not sufficiently effective, and challenges such as lack of transparency, and insufficient enforcement of IP rights remain.


Substantial concerns exist regarding the interpretation of patentability requirements, the lack of sufficient legal protection against trademark applications made in bad faith, and the protection provided for trade secrets.

An emerging concern is ensuring fair and non-discriminating treatment in competition cases opened against foreign rights-holders.

Since 2017, IP Key China has been directed by the European Commission, implemented and co-funded by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).

It has provided substantial support to technical intellectual property cooperation to assist the EU rights-holders in China.

This protection is important for securing innovation and competitiveness of the European companies in the global market while intellectual property rights are a defining factor in Ireland’s trade with China, the European Commission has pointed out.

EUIPO executive director Christian Archambeau said that for the past five years, IP Key China has been at the side of entrepreneurs, SMEs, researchers, and creative thinkers to protect the intellectual assets that ensure the future of their business in China.

It has done this by improving the implementation of IP legislation and IP enforcement systems in China.

Equivalent legislation

IP Key China assessments of Chinese legislation also shed light on the major differences with equivalent IP legislation in the EU.

This analysis covered aspects such as:

  • Response to counterfeiting and piracy,
  • Procedures for the treatment of IP disputes,
  • General IP enforcement and insights for European businesses.

An EU-China IP dialogue and working group has also discussed how to address the specific challenges related to IP rights.

IP Key China also worked on the integration of trademark data, with over 32 million Chinese trademarks becoming available in the trademark search-tool and database ‘TMview’.

The future

The next phase of the IP Key China project will look at converging international standards in IPR protection, with greater focus on law-enforcement aspects.

Partnerships and strategic engagement with European businesses operating in China, as well as industry associations, will be strengthened.

Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland