IP protection in China

Last updated: 
22 March 2016

Please note, IP registration and protection can be a complex process, especially in an international context. It is recommended that you seek advice from an IP professional.

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China is Australia's largest trading partner. With its population of 1.4 billion people, China presents enormous opportunities for Australian businesses. Australia is both a leading source of resources for China and increasingly a supplier of premium goods and services.

Doing business in China

If your business is expanding to China to either manufacture or sell your product, safeguarding your intellectual property (IP) should be one of your primary considerations.

Like in Australia, IP Rights are registered nationally, meaning that your Australian trade mark, design or patent does not provide you any protection in China. 

Registering your IP rights as early as possible will save you significant time and money later.  IP rights in China are registered through several government bodies:

  • patents and designs are registered through the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO)
  • trade marks are registered through the China Trademark Office (CTMO)  
  • copyright protection applies automatically, but can be registered through the National Copyright Administration.

IP Counsellor to China

To assist Australian business navigate the Chinese IP system, IP Australia has appointed David Bennett as the IP Counsellor to China. David will assist Australian business navigate IP issues with regards to patents, trade marks, designs and copyright.  David will also engage with the Chinese Government on IP policy.

Enforcing your rights in China

The administration and enforcement of IP laws in China is quite different from those in Australia.

A number of different government agencies are involved at state and provincial levels. If you have a problem about the protection of your IP rights it can be difficult to know which agency handles your complaint.

Your best option is to seek specialist legal advice.

The Chinese Government has taken steps to make it easier to address enforcement issues by establishing more than 50 IP rights service centres around the country.

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