Recently, China sought to reassure foreign investors that it
would never close its doors to the outside world and was committed
to making China a fairer place to conduct business. "We are
protecting the legitimate rights of foreign enterprises according
to law," said Chinese President Xi Jinping during a roundtable
discussion with international business leaders at the Boan Forum
for Asia. Xi's comments come as U.S. investors and businesses
grow increasingly wary about the investment environment amid
concerns over rising costs and the protection of intellectual
property. Among other costs, workers' wages have increased much
in recent years, forcing foreign businesses to balance shrinking
marginal profits against risk of intellectual property loss.
Companies conducting business in China are acutely aware of the
risks regarding their intellectual property rights, and attention
to detail in both the pre-contracting and contracting stages is key
to combatting IP infringement. As a pre-contracting matter, a U.S.
company needs to identify the types of IP rights because, like the
U.S., China classifies IP rights according to the type of IP.
Following identification of the different IP rights potentially at
risk, the U.S. company should further ascertain whether appropriate
registrations of certain IP rights have been sought in China, and
if not, whether it shall pursue such registrations. In the
contracting stage, it is critical that a U.S. company use a legal
contract that clearly defines ownership of the IP rights. Such a
legal contract should identify the IP rights at issues, and have
provisions covering term, territory and exclusivity or
A more detailed discussion of strategies to combat these risks
can be found in the article titled "Protection of IP Rights in
China," co-authored by Mark Aiello and Charley Meng.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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