IPR Protection and Chinese Customs: Reducing the Flow of Counterfeit Exports

Introduction

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) protection has emerged as a focal point in the vast and complex international trade landscape, particularly in manufacturing hubs like China. Counterfeit goods pose serious risks to brand integrity, profitability, and public safety. Therefore, there is an urgent call to reinforce and implement legal mechanisms to halt the production and export of these fake products. Here we will delve into the advancements in customs protection of IPRs in China, highlighting strategies to deter the outflow of counterfeit goods.

 

Recent Advances in IPR Protection in China

China’s commitment to bolstering IPR protection has made significant strides in recent years, leading to the establishment of several new laws, regulations, and strategies. Chinese Customs has been at the forefront of this shift, deploying rigorous measures to supervise, identify, and confiscate counterfeit goods under the ambit of Chinese laws.

Prominent legislation includes:

  1. Customs Law of the People’s Republic of China: This law empowers the Chinese Customs to oversee and regulate import and export activities, including initiating actions against illegal practices.
  2. Regulations on Customs Protection of Intellectual Property Rights: Introduced in 2004, these regulations outline the processes that IPR owners can undertake to register their rights with Chinese Customs and to solicit the detention of suspected counterfeit goods.

 

Registration of IPR with Chinese Customs

To halt infringement, IPRs can be registered with Chinese Customs. IPR owners can submit necessary documents such as proof of IPR ownership, identity verification of the right owner, and a detailed description of the goods warranting protection. 

This proactive registration allows Chinese customs to enforce IPRs. It empowers customs officers to seize counterfeit goods without needing specific applications from rights owners, playing a crucial role in maintaining the integrity of the IPR ecosystem.

 

Detention, Seizure, and the Role of AIC Raids

The Chinese Customs possesses the authority to detain goods suspected of infringing IPRs. Following detention, Customs notifies the IPR owner, who is then expected to confirm whether infringement has occurred. If confirmed, the owner can request the seizure of the goods.

In these situations, the owner is required to provide a bond, which acts as a safety net for potential losses resulting from the detention. If the suspected goods are proven counterfeit, the bond is returned; otherwise, it compensates the owner of the goods.

Notably, the Administration for Industry and Commerce (AIC) also conducts raids to terminate infringements and gather evidence for potential legal proceedings swiftly.

 

Remedies through Civil Procedure and Criminal Prosecution

IPR owners have the right to resort to the civil procedure to file lawsuits and seek remedies such as injunctions and damages. In cases of severe infringements, criminal prosecution for trademark infringement may be pursued, leading to severe penalties that serve as a deterrent.

 

Role of E-commerce Platforms and the Need for Collaborative Enforcement

E-commerce platforms in China have established systems designed to prevent IPR infringement. However, infringement remains possible, given the complex and ever-evolving nature of the online marketplace.

A strategic approach combines different enforcement routes, such as administrative actions, civil litigation, and criminal prosecution. This enhances the chances of successful IPR protection. In this regard, the availability of necessary evidence is especially critical in civil procedure cases.

 

Conclusion

China’s progress in strengthening IPR protection and preventing the export of counterfeit goods is noteworthy. Businesses must utilize these advancements by actively registering their IPRs with Chinese Customs and collaborating to address infringements effectively. Despite these advancements, businesses should brace themselves for potential challenges and continually stay abreast of the evolving landscape of Chinese regulations and practices to safeguard their interests. It’s worth reiterating that, in China, IPR registration with customs can be done for protection. This forms the bedrock of a robust intellectual property rights system and provides a strong deterrent against infringement.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do I register my Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) with Chinese Customs?

To register your IPR with Chinese Customs, you must submit the necessary documents, including proof of IPR ownership, identity verification of the rights owner, and a detailed description of the goods that need protection. After approval, the registered IPR is valid for ten years and can be renewed.

2. What happens if Chinese Customs find counterfeit goods?

If Chinese Customs identifies goods suspected of infringing IPR, they can detain these goods. The IPR owner is then notified and must confirm if an infringement has occurred. If confirmed, the owner can request the seizure of the goods.

3. What role does the Administration for Industry and Commerce (AIC) play in IPR protection?

The AIC plays a crucial role in IPR protection by conducting raids to terminate infringements and swiftly gathering evidence for potential legal proceedings.

4. What remedies are available to IPR owners?

IPR owners can resort to the civil procedure to file lawsuits and seek remedies such as injunctions and damages. In severe cases of infringements, criminal prosecution for trademark infringement can also be pursued, leading to harsh penalties.

5. How effective are e-commerce platforms in preventing IPR infringement?

E-commerce platforms have implemented systems to prevent IPR infringement. However, given the complex and evolving nature of the online marketplace, it’s still possible for infringement to occur. Therefore, IPR owners should stay vigilant and take necessary action when needed.

6. Why is IPR registration necessary for protection in China?

IPR registration in China can be done for protection as it enables Chinese Customs to enforce IPRs. This proactive registration empowers customs officers to seize counterfeit goods without needing specific applications from rights owners, which is instrumental in maintaining the integrity of the IPR ecosystem.

 

Contact us if you need help registering your IPR within the customs in China, or other legal help in China, like protection of copyright, verifying Chinese companies, checking business licenses, drafting contracts that follow Chinese law, background investigation of Chinese companies, protecting patents, trademarks, and verification of contracts to the law in China, etc.

If you require our assistance or have further questions about our services, please do not hesitate to contact our Customer Relationship Manager, Jan Erik Christensen, at janerik@ncbhub.com. We look forward to hearing from you and helping your business succeed in China.

 

Contact us if you need help with drafting of contracts that follows Chinese laws and are enforceable in China, background investigation of Chinese companiesprotecting patents, trademarks, verification of contracts to the law in China, or help with other legal challenges that you have in China.

If you require our assistance or have further questions about our services, please do not hesitate to contact our Customer Relationship Managers Jan Erik Christensen, at janerik@ncbhub.com  or Milla Chen, at huimin.chen@ncbhub.com. We look forward to hearing from you and helping your business succeed in China.