Many Maori businesses are leading the way in developing and furthering business relationships in China. Often collaborating, or using Chinese manufacturers or suppliers, Maori are engaging with Chinese businesses in highly innovative and productive ways.

In working so closely intellectual property is often shared. However language and other barriers can muddy parties’ understanding of each other’s rights.

For this reason, while Copyright protection does not require formal registration, we recommend that parties sharing IP in China register their copyright with the Copyright Protection Centre of China (“CPCC”).

What is Copyright?

Copyright is relevant for almost all businesses.  It is an exclusive right given to creators of original works which allows them to control how and when their works can be used, copied and reproduced.

They are not limited to “creative” businesses as copyright can apply to all kinds of works such as written articles, logos, computer software, videos, photographs and designs.

Copyright is different to other types of intellectual property in that protection is automatic upon creation. That is, as soon as an original work is created it is protected by copyright.

However countries such as the United States and China have established a formal register to record copyright ownership and details of protected works.

Why register if protection is automatic?

There are a number of good reasons to register your copyright in China.

  • It provides tangible evidence of your ownership of your copyright;
  • It is required in the event you need to enforce your copyright in China;
  • It can help prevent infringement, as around half of infringers will stop misappropriating your copyright when a certificate of registration is provided with “Cease and Desist” correspondence;
  • It helps you to prevent counterfeit products from being in the market by:
  • Allowing you to provide details of your goods, through your certificate of registration, to customs officers; and
  • b.       Allowing you to request their removal at trade shows by providing your certificate of registration to officials;
  • It provides tangible evidence of the date of creation which can assist you as evidence of your prior rights in the event that a third party attempts to register your trade mark in China.

Registration Process

To obtain a copyright registration in China an application must be filed with the CPCC. This involves the use of an agent in China who we have worked with previously.

An examiner of CPCC will have a preliminary examination once the filing documents submitted by the applicant are received, then the applicant will receive the Notification of Acceptance while the application enters into examination phase. Upon the examination, a certificate of registration will be issued.

The registration process can take a few months, but its benefits are numerous.

For further information on registering your copyright in China please contact Kirsten Ferguson on kferguson@raineycollins.co.nz.

Kirsten Ferguson