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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