The IP Key China Stakeholders Meeting was held on 19 April 2023. The event brought together over 80 online and onsite participants from EU institutions, Chinese government authorities, representatives from EU Member States, academics from EU and Chinese IP faculties as well as a diverse range of industries.

This occasion signifies the continuation of IP Key China, a technical project in the field of intellectual property (IP) cooperation directed by the European Commission and implemented in China and the European Union by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).

HFG partner Reinout van Malenstein was on a panel with China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA), the French Embassy and the European Chamber. The panel focused on the topic of future priorities and challenges for EU-China cooperation in the area of IP protection and enforcement. The panel was moderated by Benoit Misonne, IP Attaché, Delegation of the European Union to China.

In speaking order, the following topics were discussed:

LI Danxia, International Cooperation Department, CNIPA, gave an update on ongoing work and reform of CNIPA. She mentioned there is a new trademark law coming up. Furthermore, the status of CNIPA has been elevated to a higher level.

Julie HERVE, IP Attaché, Embassy of France in China, gave a legislative review with reference to geographical indications, cosmetics, and enforcement with a focus on counterfeiting.

Reinout van Malenstein, partner at HFG, brought forward the attention on the Apostille Convention and the actual practical implementation. He stated that China will join the Apostille Convention from November 2023.

The hope of European companies is that this means that they finally do not have to legalise their documents as PoA, legal representative statement and incorporation certificate, through the ministry of foreign affairs and the Chinese embassy which is a long and costly process.

If these documents can be notarized in the home EU jurisdiction and then been affixed with an apostille at the designated body, it will be much easier for companies to start litigations and other enforcement actions in China much faster.

However, for this it is important that China recognizes that these notarized documents of incorporation certificate, legal representative statement and PoA, will fall under the public documents as mentioned under the apostille convention.

Other topics Reinout van Malenstein brought forward on the panel were:

- Trademark Certificates though Madrid Protocol need to still be applied for and cannot be immediately enforced;

-There is no official staying of proceedings with CNIPA;

- Benefits of combing soft IP cases in one court case;

- Future of preliminary injunctions in China.

- Damages awarded in China.

BAI Yajun, Chair of the IPR Working Group, EUCCC, mentioned the topics of bad-faith filings, patentability and trade secrets.

The panel ended with a comprehensive overview of the future priorities and challenges for EU-China cooperation in the area of IP protection and enforcement by Benoit Misonne, IP Attaché of the Delegation of the European Union to China.

This current phase of IP key will be 2022-2025.

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