Insights for Chinese companies protecting brands overseas


Wang Kan, IP director at Raycan, shares his medical imaging firm’s experience in intellectual property protection

Q: Please briefly introduce Raycan and the main IP work and challenges involved

A: Our company originally focused on high-end medical imaging called PET-CT. PET, which refers to positron emission tomography, is currently the world’s most advanced medical imaging equipment. It is different from CT (computerised tomography) and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), which provide anatomical information.

We have now explored a new direction, after having brought PET to another level, much like the evolution of film cameras to digital cameras. We realised later that the technology is very versatile, so we expanded beyond the medical equipment field, to areas such as petroleum exploration, as well as security CT and radiation detection.

In terms of IP, we initially focused on patents. After all, we are engaged in complex medical equipment for detection, data sampling, data processing and image reconstruction. It is a complete technological chain and this chain contains many technical solutions.

After we achieved some results, we realised that we can build a global brand. So, after we finished our technological arrangements, we also worked hard to build our brand. So currently, our business presence is in China, the US, Japan, the EU, and many other jurisdictions.

Q: What does it mean for Chinese companies to protect their IP overseas?

A: First and foremost, it depends on the company’s products and its positioning. For example, if the Chinese company’s target market lies in China and nowhere else, then there is not much need to protect its IP rights overseas. If, however, the company’s products are aimed at the global market, then it becomes very necessary to protect its IP rights overseas.

In our case, our competitors are leading companies from all over the world, and we have made a series of technological breakthroughs. So, we have a high estimation of our own market value and have targeted the global market at the beginning. Currently, our IP business presence can be found in the US, Japan, Europe, Brazil and Africa. So, currently, this aspect is quite important for us.

Q: In terms of team building, how do you motivate your legal team, especially IP staff?

A: Firstly, we have a reward system for our R&D personnel. For example, after our patents are granted, we award bonuses to them. Patents are divided into ABCD levels, each corresponding to different levels of bonuses. We hope our R&D personnel will create more high-quality patents, which offer the highest bonuses.

The second type of bonus takes the form of patent conversion revenue. For example, if we convert a patent into a product and sell it, we receive revenue. We can reward the inventors based on the contribution that the patent makes to the revenue.

The third type occurs when inventors make important contributions to our entire technology or innovation system. We make an evaluation on their contribution and provide them with equity incentives. This ensures that everyone benefits from our company’s long-term development.

Q: Have you used any recommendable legal tools or technologies in your work?

A: We use several legal tools, including patent information maps created in co-operation with professional organisations. This helps us identify the overall trends in tech development and where our technological gaps lie. We also look for how new patents can emerge.

We use many database tools, such as Patsnap and Clarivate in China. Although we now have abundant database resources, it is never more important than working with professional teams. In IP, there are many protective or so-called “garbage” patents, which makes it crucial to be able to pierce through the noise and locate the real treasure within.