Across intellectual property


China has become an important source of global intellectual property (IP) growth. Trademark and patent applications both inside and originating from China are increasing. While China is enhancing its internal IP protection regulations for both domestic and foreign operators, Chinese companies are becoming more proactive in acquiring and applying for IP rights overseas. The ubiquitous permeation of internet technology into people’s lives has also added to the complexity of IP protection.

China Business Law Journal 2017This issue features three IP stories. Tangled web explores new forms of IP infringement in China that have been spawned by the rapid development in the use of the internet. Online IP infringement is easy to perpetrate but difficult to find and prove, IP practitioners say. Therefore it’s crucial for regulators and businesses to keep up with the latest internet applications.

From the top focuses on recent revisions to China’s IP rules. With strong backing from the central government, a number of laws and regulations have been amended or adopted. The story analyzes how the legal updates can help right holders safeguard their IP more effectively, and how the current framework may still need to be improved.

Trend setter looks at IP issues confronting Chinese investors in overseas jurisdictions, in particular North America and European countries, as Chinese companies are striving to obtain more IP rights abroad. Judicial trends and regulatory changes in Europe and the US, as well as political upheavals such as Brexit, may impact Chinese companies’ IP strategies in some developed economies.

This issue also includes the first story of our series on China’s Belt and Road initiative, the country’s magnificent blueprint for outbound investment and cross-continental economic connection. Think big investigates the historical background of age-old Belt and Road trading routes linking the West and the Far East, and the pressing issues in the modern development of this project. Experts say one of the challenges lies in the immense diversity of the cultures, business practices and legal systems across Belt and Road countries, adding that the legal profession should lead efforts to build a solid legal foundation for the initiative.

As Chinese companies expand overseas, their top leaders are also exposed to more dangerous legal risks abroad. The D&O defence discusses why Chinese multinationals should protect their top managers with directors and officers (D&O) liability insurance. For example, the risk of a shareholder action in Australia, a discrimination lawsuit in Europe, a cyber-attack in Malaysia or a securities investigation in Hong Kong are all real issues that board directors may need to face as their companies grow bigger and more complex, and without D&O insurance the financial consequences could be devastating both to a company and its leadership.