For most global companies, the need to think about how to protect intellectual property in China is an inevitable reality. For a few years, there have been indications that the nation is willing to be more protective of IP owners’ rights – from revisions to trademark law that aim to provide greater protection of IP and impose harsher penalties on infringers, to an unprecedented $1.5 million award to New Balance Athletics Inc. in a trademark dispute.

But recent events – such as the ordered investigation into China’s alleged theft of IP and the country’s inclusion on a priority watch list earlier this year by the Office of the United States Trade Representative because of IP concerns – signal there’s still work to be done. These developments highlight that, despite small gains, protecting intellectual property in China can still be a major headache for companies and in-house attorneys.

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