Our workshop with De Clercq & Partners: Your intellectual property in China

Reflections on our IP life sciences seminar with De Clercq & Partners

On the 19th of September in Brussels, Agio Capital & Business Solutions joined hands with De Clerq & Partners, one of Europe’s leading intellectual property firms and renowned in the life sciences sector, to give a seminar on intellectual property protection in China. 

Recent reforms to the Chinese IP system have resulted in a surge of patent applications and together with the market size, capital, and an increasingly aging, but wealthier population able to afford state-of-the-art healthcare, have made China a hotbed for overseas biopharma and medtech companies. In 2017, more than 1,3 million patent applications were filed with China’s state intellectual property office, greater than the combined filings that year in the US, Japan, South Korea and Europe.

With over 50 attendees on a workday afternoon, we were excited to welcome both Belgian and international speakers specialized in the intellectual property and China life sciences business space. Insightful talks were given on the key aspects and pitfalls of IP protection in China, its recent reforms and opportunities, followed afterwards by closing words on the future of IP in China and a cozy networking reception.

Several key takeaways on IP protection in China:

  1. Recent years have seen a very strong support for IP protection and litigation by the Chinese government, with China now becoming a battlefield for multi-national companies to solve their patent disputes. However, there is still a lot of room for improvement.
  2. Always file immediately for IP & trademarks in China and make sure to carve-out China rights for every deal, as the value of your portfolio could be huge in China especially in regards to highly prevalent diseases (ie. diabetes, cancer, eye disorders).
  3. Patent prosecution in China is very similar to the European system and examination by the EPO, with a first-to-file principle, a 20-year term and demonstration of novelty and inventiveness. Beware to provide sufficient support in the text of the application.
  4. Find a good reputable local partner/company to help you file and protect your IP in China and make sure they have the foreign trade right in the case of cross border technology transfer
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