When it comes to protecting intellectual property, China is one of the toughest environments in which a corporate counsel can operate. Leo Long asked some hard-working brand managers about their biggest challenges and best hopes for the future

For years it’s been a lucrative earner. Literally thousands of counterfeiters, pirates and upstarts combing reputable marks for a crack in their brand armour, something with which to exploit various loopholes in the law and literally extort the goodwill out of reputable products, sucking them dry and nimbly moving on to another when the slow moving enforcement authorities catch their trail.

Now things are changing. IP courts, as well as upgrades to the Trademark Law and various regulations are aiming to crack down on the infringers. For corporate counsel, this situation now requires on the one hand constant monitoring, protection and fire control, and on the other a pressing need to update on, and often interpret, new reforms.

For this article, China Business Law Journal consulted law firms and IP agencies to cherry-pick who they felt were outstanding in-house trademark managers from both international and domestic companies in China. To this list we added some of our own choices of trademark managers and asked them to share their valuable opinions on brand protection and management.

For most of these corporate counsel, counterfeiting and pirate registration have remained the greatest threats, despite the new Trademark Law coming into effect last year. They expect further improvements in legislation and enforcement concerning trademark protection.

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