Posts in China

Dangerous Fakes: Infringing Products That Pose Public Health Issues

During the final day of IPWatchdog LIVE in Dallas, Texas on Tuesday, a panel of attorneys discussed issues surrounding “dangerous fakes,” which are counterfeit goods that pose health risks to consumers. The panelists began with a brief overview of how U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) identifies and seizes infringing goods. The panel also outlined the role that U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) plays in working to identify dangerous fakes in conjunction with CBP.

Third Circuit: Costs Avoided Due to Trade Secrets Misappropriation Can Be Basis for Damages Award

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit on Monday said in a precedential decision that Jiangsu Tie Mao Glass Co. Ltd. (TMG) should have shown up sooner in a trade secrets misappropriation lawsuit brought against it by PPG Industries if it wanted to have a chance at winning. But by failing to enter the litigation until after PPG asked the district court to enter default judgment and award damages for unjust enrichment, “its protestations were and are too little and much too late,” said the appellate court.

Metaverse Trademark Filings in China: Protecting Brands While the Law Catches Up

As the concept of a unified “metaverse” is gaining traction, savvy brand owners are shifting their focus to securing rights in this emerging sector. In pursuit of intellectual property (IP) rights, individuals and corporations are turning to metaverse trademark filings to provide protection for goods and services in the virtual world. As of the summer of 2022, the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) has received more than 16,000 applications that either contain the word “METAVERSE” (in English or its Chinese translation: “YUAN YUZHOU,” or both) or that include descriptions of goods and services in the virtual world, or both. These applications were filed by individuals as well as companies (big and small, both foreign and domestic). The rejection rate for traditional trademark applications in China is typically high, around 60-70%, at least in the first instance. However, the rejection rate for these new metaverse applications is even higher, hovering around 80%.

CHIPS and Science Act Neglects the Importance of IP Rights in Encouraging American Innovators

On August 9, President Joe Biden signed into law the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) and Science Act, enacting a major legislative package that will provide $280 billion in federal funding to encourage the domestic production of semiconductor products in the United States as well as fund research and development projects in advanced technological fields like quantum computing and artificial intelligence. Although the 1,000+ page bill establishes massive investments into several areas of developing technologies, it focuses very little on the intellectual property rights that are critical for protecting the new technologies that would be developed through federally funded projects.

Understanding ‘NNN’ Agreements in China

An “NNN” agreement is short for Non-Disclosure/Non-Use/Non-Circumvention agreement, which means the information cannot be shared with anyone, it cannot be used in any way, and “behind-the-back” or design around tactics are forbidden. In recent years, signing NNN agreements has become widely adopted and is now the standard initial step in dealings with Chinese companies, particularly original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). An NNN Agreement is much more than just a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA). An NDA focuses narrowly on preventing secret information from being revealed to a third party or to the public, which is not sufficient for OEMs in China. In contrast, an NNN agreement not only contains confidentiality provisions, but also prevents misuse of confidential information.

The Case for Patenting AI: U.S. Patent Laws Better Get Smart or Get Left Behind

The idea of patented inventions brings to mind machines fully realized – flying contraptions and engines with gears and pistons operating in coherent symphony. When it comes to artificial intelligence (AI), there are no contraptions, no gears, no pistons, and in a lot of cases, no machines. AI inventors sound much more like philosophers theorizing about machines, rather than mechanics describing a machine. They use phrases like “predictive model” and “complexity module” that evoke little to no imagery or association with practical life whatsoever. The AI inventor’s ways are antithetical to the principles of patent writing, where inventions are described in terms of what does what, why, how, and how often.

A License to Steal IP: What Partnering with China Really Means for Businesses

“The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the Government, and I’m here to help,” said President Ronald Reagan during a press conference on August 12, 1986. This is one of President Reagan’s most often quoted quips, and for a reason. The Government can certainly help people in times of need, but it can also be a scary bureaucracy, particularly when it shows up unannounced and uninvited. Fast forward 31 years and the 12 most terrifying words in the English language for any business should be: “I’m from China, and my company would like to partner with yours.”

WTO Announces COVID Vaccine Waiver Deal That Virtually No One Wants

Following a week of round-the-clock deliberations, the World Trade Organization (WTO) this morning announced a deal on waiver of IP rights for COVID-19 vaccine technologies under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). The final text has made almost no one happy and largely mirrors the draft text going into negotiations, with a few key changes. With respect to open questions in the draft text, the final agreement indicates that all developing country WTO Members will be considered eligible to take advantage of the waiver, but that those with “existing capacity to manufacture COVID-19 vaccines are encouraged to make a binding commitment not to avail themselves of this Decision.” This language is primarily targeted at China, which has publicly stated that it would not use the waiver provision but had objected to language based on percentage of global vaccine exports that would have categorically excluded it. The draft text had encouraged members with vaccine export capabilities to opt out rather than to make a binding commitment.

WTO Conference Could End with Agreement on COVID Vaccine IP Waiver This Week

The World Trade Organization’s (WTO’s) 12th Ministerial Conference is set to take place this week, June 12-15, at WTO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. As part of the four-day meeting, discussions around the latest text of the proposal to waive intellectual property (IP) rights under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) for COVID-19 vaccine technology will take place around the clock, and it is expected that some agreement will be reached. TRIPS Council Chair, Ambassador Lansana Gberie of Sierra Leone, said on June 7 that “delegations have entered into real negotiation mode in the last 24 hours,” and that she is “feeling cautiously optimistic now that we will get this text ready for adoption by ministers in time for the coming weekend.”

Another Peculiar Anti-Patent Court Decision in ParkerVision v. Qualcomm

Infringing patented inventions feels like stealing, from the innovator’s perspective, much like a smash and grab at a jewelry store. Politicians refuse to fix the gutted patent system so it can protect U.S. startups and small inventors. The American Dream is slipping away, as it consolidates into the hands of just a few tech giants and sending whatever is left to China. Case in point, ParkerVision v. Qualcomm, which illustrates just how anti-patent some courts have become. In this case the importance of ParkerVision’s seminal semiconductor chip technology that helped to transform cellphones into smartphones is at issue. ParkerVision invested tens of millions in R&D, but the courts have allowed it to be taken from them and transferred to a multinational corporation free of charge.

Protecting Color Trademarks in Asia

With their creative minds, marketing and advertising folks never disappoint in coming up with brilliant ways to distinguish their goods and services from the competition – for example, Tiffany’s robin’s egg blue and Hermes’ orange. This type of marketing genius allows one to immediately recognize a brand without even seeing the word “Hermes” or knowing how to pronounce it. On the flip side, these ideas are prime targets for copycats. After all, by simply changing the jewelry box color to the exact pantone shade of Tiffany’s turquoise blue, a seller could immediately quadruple his/her revenue by profiting from consumer confusion without having to increase the inventory quality or spend a dime on marketing. The question then is: is it possible to protect a color (or color combination) in all jurisdictions by registering it as a trademark?

Foreign Filing Requirements Part III: Managing Compliance

In Part II of this series, we reviewed three of the most popular jurisdictions for global patenting and their foreign filing restrictions for cross-border inventions. Our final article in this series will discuss how an applicant’s failure to comply with foreign filing restrictions may result in various penalties, ranging from invalidation of the patent to criminal consequences accompanied by fines, and even imprisonment. Before strategically planning the global patent filing of a new invention, the first step for a practitioner is to gather the relevant information. Because the foreign filing requirements vary greatly among countries, information beyond simply name and address of each inventor (or applicant if different from the inventor) needs to be collected. Given that some countries’ foreign filing license requirements are based on residency as well as nationality, it is necessary to know the citizenship and/or residency status of each inventor.

Foreign Filing Requirements Part II – Comparing Popular Patenting Jurisdictions

In Part I of this series, we provided an overview of foreign filing restrictions for cross-border inventions around the world. For a deeper examination, we will narrow our focus to some of the most common countries for filing. The United States, China, and India are among the most popular patent filing venues in the world. While all three countries require a Foreign Filing License (FFL) before filing abroad or otherwise first filing in the home country, the specific requirements vary.

Hague in Force in China: Tips for Choosing the Hague Agreement or Paris Convention to File Design Patents in China

The Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs (the “Hague Agreement”) will enter into force in China next week, on May 5. Together with the original Paris Convention approach, there will now be two different options for filing design patents in China: the Hague system (designated extension) and the Paris Convention (direct entry). Based on our experience and analysis of the relevant regulations, we have the following preliminary suggestions on how foreign applicants should choose to enter China.

USTR Suspends Review of Ukraine, Remains Concerned with China in Latest Special 301 Report

The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) released its annual Special 301 Report today, which identified 27 trading partners of the United States as being either on the “Priority Watch List” or “Watch List.” This means that “particular problems exist in that country with respect to IP protection, enforcement, or market access for U.S. persons relying on IP,” according to the Report. While the Priority Watch List is shorter this year, the USTR continues to highlight concerns about China, particularly with respect to recent statements made by Chinese officials about the role of IP in achieving Chinese market dominance.