Copyright: another important way to protect your IP Assets in China

Saturday 16th August 2014
Article written by: Penny Catley

If you are operating in China, you will be conscious about “protecting your business assets”.

You will also be aware how important it is to have original documentation and proof of ownership in this jurisdiction.  It can however take years to register intellectual property (“IP”) and if you discover that your IP has been infringed during the registration process, you may have no statutory right to rely on.  Moreover if you have registered your brand in relation to certain goods only, you may be unable to take action against someone else who is using your brand on unrelated goods.

This is where copyright comes in handy.  Copyright is automatically acquired in original literary and artistic works (among others).  While not possible to do in New Zealand, it is possible to voluntarily register copyright through the Copyright Protection Center (“CPC”) in China.

Various types of works, can be registered including written material, logos, dress designs, music, architectural works, photographic works, engineering and product designs.

Registering with CPC establishes a legal public record of your copyright in China, which effectively protects your interests and rights under Chinese Copyright Law.   To register you are required to complete an application form and pay a fee to CPC. When the application is approved, a copyright registration certificate issues.  This is considered prima facie evidence by the court in copyright dispute trials.  You can also fast track the approval process if required.

The following information is needed to lodge an application:

  • English name of the work and Chinese name if available;
  • date upon which the work was completed and first released to the public;
  • details of the country and city where the work was created and first released;
  • nature of the work,
  • the reason the work was created and the process of creation;
  • description of the features of the work
  • name of the author of the work, and
  • contact details and proof of ownership of the work by the copyright owner (or assignor and assignee).

One downside to the copyright registration process is that it requires detailed information about the work to be publically disclosed.  Copyright registration may therefore not suit the likes of software companies who are unwilling to reveal parts of their source code.

Registration of copyright is however recommended where you have unique logos and designs because it provides you with one more string to your intellectual property bow..  
Please get in touch with us if you think you should register your copyright in China.

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