|IPR BREAKFAST WORKSHOP FOR EUROPEAN SME’S WITH CHINA IPR EXPERT ELLIOT PAPAGEORGIOU|
|Host / Sponsor:||European Union Business Information Programme|
|Event Time:||Thu 19-May-2011 8:30 AM To 11:00 AM|
|Venue:||World-Wide Executive Centre, 10/F, World-Wide House, 19 Des Voeux Road Central
Only for National European Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong Members.
|View Flyer/Attachment:||EUCCC HK 20110519 handout|
The European Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong thanks to EUBIP funding was delighted to host an IPR roundtable featuring China IPR expert Elliot Papageorgiou, from Rouse Shanghai. The event gathered 30 European IP stake-holders, ranging from design studios, to lawyers, consumer goods companies and luxury brands.
The speaker made a presentation on IP strategies for European companies with operations in Greater China; he strongly emphasized the need of identifying IP values within the company: disregarding the nature of business, it is essential to identify those assets that directly or indirectly generate revenue: trademarks, company name and logos, designs, mascot. In terms of liability, he insisted that all companies exposed to the Chinese market are equally exposed to IP infringements, no matter if it is in the field of production, sourcing or distribution.
A major concern of SMEs is the investment in the IP protection. The filing of patents in China and Hong Kong is extremely expensive and in FMCGs, the important number of references makes the filing per reference unrealistic.
An option for SMEs is to register utility models instead of patents, as they are cheaper and faster to file (9-12 months, versus 3 years in the case of patents). The period of protection is only 10 years nonetheless, compared to the 20 years protection of patents. However, whenever the degree of invention is high, the registration of the patent is definitely encouraged in order to obtain a stronger protection. A high number of European SMEs in Greater China opt for registering first as a utility model and then pass to a patent with all its implications.
There is a general lack of know-how from SMEs when it comes to structure an efficient IPR protection strategy, and more guidance and information is required by the participants through seminars, roundtables and presentations. Whereas an international patent makes sense and is plausible for large corporations with a global presence, SMEs, typically more focused on a limited number of countries have the option of filing national patents in those countries in which they have trading operations (to and/ or from).
European SME’s request a sounder cooperation between HK and Mainland China, as currently, with separate trademark systems, the registration in China does not cover Hong Kong and vice-versa, which translates into time-consuming registrations of the identical IP assets and additional costs. Also, more cooperation at customs level is mandatory in order to increase the efficiency in the fight against counterfeits.
An issue regarding IP protection in Hong Kong is the fact that Hong Kong is not part of the Madrid Protocol, whereas China is a contracting member. There is currently an open dialogue between the Governments of Hong Kong and Mainland China regarding the feasibility and impact of a possible adhesion of Hong Kong to the Madrid system.