Watching your business grow is a satisfying feeling and there's no better way to expand your business than to start selling your products or services overseas. China in particular is a popular market for business expansion thanks to the country's significant population of potential customers. But if you've never done business in China or elsewhere overseas, you might not know where to begin. In particular, you might want to make sure your intellectual property is registered and protected in China, just like it is in the United States before you decide to move into a new market. Here are some tips to keep in mind.
You Can't Enforce Your IP in China with U.S. Registration
Companies that have done business in China know that they need to stay on top of things in order to protect their IP there. All countries may potentially have counterfeiters who are looking to make copies of your products or ideas but China in particular is known for having a gray or black market where some counterfeit goods can be purchased for less than retail price. The thing is, though, you can't use your U.S. patent to try and shut down a bad actor in another country. You will need to have your product or service registered with the appropriate authorities in China before any enforcement can take place. A Chinese court won't be able to do anything with your U.S. patent, in other words.
China Might Mean More Than One Territory or Part of the World
When people think of "China" they are probably thinking of the mainland. But the area surrounding the mainland should also be taken into consideration when expanding your business and protecting your IP. Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau for example are all nearby cities or places that may have separate legal systems from the mainland. A U.S-China IP expert may be able to help you figure out exactly where you need to register your products or file for patents as you expand your business.
Checking for IP Infringement is an Ongoing Process
If your business wants to get serious about protecting its IP in China, you may want to hire a lawyer or a specific team of people to constantly check for potential infringement. You can check social media or online sites for vendors but you may also want to pound the pavement and check out trading or bartering centers in person.
To learn more about IP in China as it relates to U.S. companies, consider attending a US-China IP Conference today, or contact companies like US-CHINA INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY EXCHANGE AND DEVELOPMENT FOUNDATION.