Last week, I went to Washington and came back from China.
In D.C., I attended the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA) Annual Meeting, where I met with lawyers and patent attorneys from the U.S., China, and other countries, and I have continued meetings with the Chinese even after returning to my offices in Chicago.
Eight is the luckiest number in China, so here are my Big 8 recommendations for Chinese IP.
Beem’s 8 Tips for China Patents and IP
- You don’t have to get patents or trademarks in China. You can simply abandon your IP rights there and allow knock-offs to flourish. You can sit back and wait for the knock-offs to arrive at the U.S. border.
- The Chinese themselves, with strong incentives from the Government, are filing patent and trademark applications like crazy. Their applications might satisfy the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) and other Chinese officials.
- When Chinese patent applications surge into the U.S., they’re not going to fare well.
- Do you need Chinese people on the ground to do business in China? Yes. And they’d better be competent, and you’d better build good, strong, mutually profitable relationships with them.
- When your technology goes to China, it will stay there. It will generate a profit for the Chinese, and if you’re smart and lucky, you can share in the profit.
- Should you work with a U.S. law firm to have work done through its Chinese office? Yes to the first part, no to the second. You will want to work through a U.S. law firm. The best Chinese lawyers, however, do not work for U.S. law firms—they work for Chinese firms.
- If the Chinese market is important to you, register your trademark there, in English and Chinese. Get design patents that cover the look of your product. Get utility models, too. Last but not least, get “invention patents,” i.e., what we call “utility” patents in the U.S.
- Make sure the “quality goes in” before your “name goes on” your patent applications and your products.
In sum, you can make money on technology in China, if you’re lucky, smart, and diligent.