As Chinese enterprises get more creative, they are increasingly facing IP protection problems when expanding abroad. Joanna Law reports on some of the challenges

With China’s ambitious goal of shifting the label of “made in China” to “created in China” hitherto unprecedented moves towards intellectual property (IP) protection are occurring. And with the “go out” policy in full swing, it’s Chinese enterprises that are now feeling the need to brush up on IP laws abroad. The latest statistics from the General Administration of Customs show that China’s exports surged 48.3% in February from a year earlier, and it is expected export results will be stronger in 2015 than in 2014, despite the slowing economy.

Technology companies are at the vanguard of the outbound surge. Domestic companies such as Xiaomi, Huawei and ZTE are emerging as new stars, with the central government’s generous help and subsidiaries in research and development. At the centre of all the activity, IP protection and compliance play a vital role for Chinese companies.

“Being aware of the competitive advantages that can be gained from IP, more and more Chinese companies are spending great efforts to protect their IP rights,” observes Ran Ruixue, a Beijing-based partner at Covington & Burling. China was the only nation to see double-digit growth in Patent Co-operation Treaty (PCT) filings in 2014, and with an increase of 18.7% it ranked as the third-largest PCT filing country.

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