IP Key China. One step forward in helping EU firms doing business in China

IP Key China. One step forward in helping EU firms doing business in China

The EU and China have been cooperating closely on intellectual property for nearly two decades. The IP Key China project launched in January 2018 builds on a previous four-year project, which carried out over 250 activities with Chinese and EU stakeholders, industry, academia and students and a wide range of stakeholder groups. Directed by the European Commission, IP Key China is implemented by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), an EU decentralised agency based in Alicante, Spain, and co-founded by the EU Partnership Instrument.

IP Key focuses on facilitating development of an intellectual property rights framework in China that is increasingly effective, fair, transparent, and otherwise based upon international best practices. It is a platform for cooperation and acts as bridge between EU and Chinese agencies in order to create an IP landscape that benefits both Chinese and EU industry operating in China. IP Key China will provide support to EU firms seeking to make inroads into the Chinese market or already doing business in China through a range of activities. Overall, the project is designed to strengthen intellectual property enforcement and protection and raise awareness about its importance as a driver of economic growth. IP Key builds on a long and productive history of EU-China cooperation on IPR issues, most recently via the IPR2 project which raised attention of IPR issues domestically through technical assistance and capacity building.

Through close cooperation with Chinese stakeholders and the involvement of the industry, academia, enforcement and judicial authorities, the IP Key China project will support the bilateral dialogue on IP through a broad range of activities that will:

  • Cover the full intellectual lifecycle;
  • Encompass a wide spectrum of IP rights, patents, trademarks, designs, geographical indications, copyright, trade secrets and plant varieties;
  • Focus on IP enforcement, collaborating with enforcers to train Chinese judges dealing with intellectual property matters;
  • Provide and extend access to online IP search database to increase the global transparency of IP Rights.

IP Key further enhances cooperation by:

  • Providing support to the EU-China IP Dialogue and EU-China IP Working Group;
  • Facilitating the development of an IP and innovation framework in China that better allows for self-determined “sustainable competitiveness” and better mitigates business risk;
  • Improving the IP legal framework and predictability of IP enforcement in China.

This is done through cooperation on a number of activities including in-depth studies, peer to peer exchanges, development of databases and tools, seminars, workshops, training and high level events. The financial contribution from the European Union is 6 million EUR, to which EUIPO adds 1.5 million EUR. In addition, Chinese counterpart agencies contribute resources to the project’s individual activities.

China is the EU’s biggest source of imports and its second-biggest export market. China and Europe trade is worth on average over €1 billion a day, with EU brands and firms an increasingly significant presence in the vast Chinese market. For EU and Chinese businesses alike, intellectual property has never been so important. The EU and China have also confirmed their commitment to reinforcing cooperation on the protection and enforcement of intellectual Property (IP) Rights and the EU-China IP Dialogues Mechanism was further reinforced in 2015 with the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding.

Given the fact that China is now the EU’s second-biggest trading partner, intellectual property rights-intensive industries are at the heart of that trade. In 2013, those industries accounted for around 90% of the EU’s trade with the world, helping to generate a trade surplus of EUR 96 billion, and drive job creation and economic growth in the EU. China, meanwhile, is strengthening its intellectual property presence, and driving the growth in world IP fillings. Nearly seven million Chinese trade mark applications were made in 2017, and over three million Chinese patent applications were filed.

One of the first goals of the IP Key China – and a priority for EUIPO – is the integration of China into TMView, the world’s largest free trade mark search database, which already offers instant access to over 40 million trade marks from the registers participating offices around the globe. This will clearly benefit EU right holders operating in China and Chinese businesses seeking information on international trade mark and design registrations.

Original article accessible from EEAS Website here.


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