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Trademark owners entering the Chinese marketplace online should develop strategies tailored to the unique Chinese legal system to protect their brands from piracy, say Amy Hsiao and Brett Heavner of Finnegan Henderson Farrabow Garrett & Dunner.
Many well-known Western brands are doing business in China as retailers, manufacturers or both. Although online business is booming in China, most brand owners have their fair share of ‘horror stories’ when it comes to registering, protecting, or enforcing their brands in China.
The cultural and linguistic differences are self-explanatory and are generally respected and understood by Western businesses. However, many Western companies—even practitioners who call themselves ‘China experts’—still wrongly assume that China follows the same legal system and trademark principles familiar to Westerners.
Ultimately, this view will lead to nothing but frustration when working with the legal system in China. When entering the online marketplace, Western business must not only understand and accept cultural and linguistic differences, they must also expect the vast differences in the Chinese legal and trademark system.
Amy Hsiao, Brett Heavner, Finnegan Henderson Farrabow Garrett & Dunner, trademark, New York Knicks, basketball,