Finnish companies’ IP challenges were high on the agenda when Minister of Justice Antti Häkkänen, together with a business delegation of Finnish companies, visited representatives of Chinese judicial officers in Beijing. The matter was discussed in more detail on 2 February 2018 led by Minister Häkkänen, on the basis of material prepared by Kolster.LEGISLATION FINE BUT THE IMPLEMENTATION IS CHALLENGING
China’s IP legislation has developed quickly to international level. However, there are still major challenges in implementing the laws, and this is where the practical problems usually occur.
“Companies must take care of basic things before doing business in China. These include protecting their company name and brands,” says Kolster’s CEO Timo Helosuo.
He says that systematic fraudulent registration of company names and brands is still common. This is done, for example, by collecting information about companies and their products at fairs.
In terms of legal enforcement, what causes problems when disputes arise is that the outcomes are difficult to predict, the processing times are long, and any eventual compensation is low by international standards. In legal processes in China, use of brands outside China may not be recognised. This leads to complicated legal processes in returning brands to their rightful owners.
Manufacture and sale of counterfeit products is a continuing problem. The sale of counterfeit products on Chinese online market places may not only cause financial losses but also damage companies’ brands when poor-quality copies end up in consumer’s hands. Fortunately the tools and practices for preventing this have improved.
Finland has good connections at state level with Chinese authorities. Minister Häkkänen saw his visit to China as a good opportunity to try to help solve IP problems. This can be done by utilising existing channels and Finnish expertise in IP and legislative processes.
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