Understanding China Intellectual Property Protection

Register Intellectual Property  in China

If a company doesn’t file its copyrights, patents, and trademarks in China, its IP has no formal protection there. Companies should register (or record) eligible Intellectual Property in China as early as possible. Companies should also understand the full range of IP for which they might file, including patents, trademarks, copyrights and as well as trade secret.

Top 4 Methods to Protect Your Intellectual Property In China

  1. Patent

Protects an invention, design, or utilitarian features of a product. This is a non-renewable application. Furthermore, it falls in 3 categories, including 20 years protection for Invention. 10 years for design. Last but not least, utility model will have 10 years of protection.

Downside for for pharmaceutical application, that they need to disclose the genetic resource, no patent term extension, “junk” patenting surrounds, claims translation, patentable subject to matter. 


A word, phrase, symbol, or design, or combination identifying the source of goods or services. As a result, the term of protection in China for approved cases are 10 years. Unlike patent, trademark are renewable.

Downside for foreign brands, as people in China pre-register in advanced, that when foreign brand it’s trademark in China, there maybe trademark squatting issue.


Protects an original work in a (fixed) medium of expression (books, music, sculpture, movies, software). This is a non-renewable application, and it will depends on applicant as individual or foreign entities.

For individual authors, it is considered as 50 years in addition to the lifelong of the author.  Hence, for foreign entities, it will be 50 years only, the term ‘piracy’ is used along the copyright.


Confidential economic information that gives its owner a competitive advantage by reason of its secrecy, such as a formulary, business plan, or manufacturing technique.

Associated issues: Overlap in China between state secrets and commercial or trade secrets is not always clear, particularly when a State Owned Enterprise is involved. 

For further information, please contact us. 



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