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Protecting Your Intellectual Property in China, Korea and Japan

on . TPL_WARP_PUBLISH . Posted in Blog.

Intellectual Property is the knowledge you or your company holds such as research results, formulas, designs, inventions, unique methods, trade secrets and so on.  It also includes your corporate image, including your brand and logo.

Patents, trademarks and copyrights are mechanisms for trying to protect them.

This is not legal advice, but a wakeup call to those who have not taken steps to safeguard their corporate know-how and brand.

The first thing to be aware of is that these countries join most of the rest of the world in granting rights to the First to File NOT the First to Use.  Therefore, whether or not you are working in these or any country around the world where intellectual property infringement is widespread, you need to file in those countries in order to protect your patents and brand name.  Otherwise, anyone can reverse engineer and patent your product, legally, by filing before you or make knockoffs using your brand name by registering it before you.

Some countries, like Japan, allow another party to patent a product you have already patented based on relatively small changes or improvement so you need to stay on top of things.

Other countries, like China, have a major problem enforcing laws.  If you are producing something in China, it's highly recommended that you don't work jointly with a Chinese company capable of reproducing your product.  It's also wise to not produce all component of your product in one place in China, but rather to produce it in-house (rather than outsourcing) at different locations.  This way, no one person or place has all the knowledge.

What have your experiences been?

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