Doing business in ChinaOn March 30, China Law Blog’s own Dan Harris will be putting on a webinar on the legal aspects of doing business in China, with a focus on how to structure your Chinese operations and deals so as to protect your IP. This webinar is being put on by CommercialLawWebAdvisor, which describes it as follows:

Companies often cannot afford not to do business in China. Whether producing goods there or selling to the Chinese market, companies that engage in business with Chinese partners need up-to-date legal advice on how to protect their technology and other intellectual property (IP) interests from being counterfeited, pirated, or otherwise misappropriated. As IP theft is one of the top issues facing businesses operating in China, there are substantial risks companies must identify and address proactively to protect their valuable IP assets. Deals made in China can threaten IP rights not just in China, but in markets around the world. Understanding the Chinese IP landscape and how to manage the pertinent issues can go a long way to safeguarding your client’s valuable IP interests.

Please join Dan Harris as he explores the nuts and bolts of constructing a good business deal with a Chinese partner, what your agreements should include, and how to manage the Chinese IP rights framework to minimize your client’s IP-related risks.

WHAT YOU WILL LEARN
This webinar will cover:

  • How to choose a good Chinese partner
  • Identifying the IP assets that need protection
  • How to structure your deal
  • Drafting your deal papers
  • Drafting China employee contracts to protect your IP
  • IP registrations: What you should know about trademarks, patents, copyrights, and licensing agreements

YOUR CONFERENCE LEADER
Your conference leader for “Doing Business in China: Structuring Your Deal and Protecting Intellectual Property” is Dan Harris. Dan is an attorney with Harris Bricken, LLP, in Seattle. He is internationally regarded as a leading authority on legal matters related to doing business in China and in other emerging economies in Asia. Forbes Magazine, Business Week, Fortune Magazine, BBC News, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Economist, CNBC, The New York Times, and many other major media players have looked to him for his perspective on international law issues.

Dan writes and speaks extensively on Chinese law with a focus on protecting foreign businesses and his China Law Blog is regarded as one of the best law blogs on the web today. The ABA Journal recently named the China Law Blog to its Blawg Hall of Fame (a designation given to the top 20 law blogs of all time).

This session is recommended for corporate and in-house counsel and really for any attorney who advises companies or organizations on China and on China IP issues. It also is good for intellectual property attorneys looking to learn more about China IP law and what makes it so different from common law countries.. Find out more about costs and registration here and for a $35 discount use promo code cw17bc.

We hope to “see” you there.

In the last week, from most recent to oldest, we wrote about the following:

1.  How Chinese companies steal your intellectual property.

2. How terminating your employees in China can come back and bite you.

3. How difficult it can be to figure out the capital requirements for your WFOE.

4. How complicated it can be drafting a China sales agency contract. This post not only started out with the following preamble: “With China getting more expensive and more difficult for foreign companies, and with many foreign companies choosing to leave China rather than risk getting caught for operating there illegally.”

5. How China companies will counterfeit your products.

6. How China is cracking down like never before on companies with “independent contractors” in China. This was I think our third or fourth post on this just this month as we just keep seeing the number of American companies getting caught for this increasing and the penalties become more onerous. We titled this article Doing Business in China with Deportation or Worse Hanging Over Your Head and we used the following picture with that post:

China WFOE lawyer

7. A Chinese Law Bibliography.

A psychologist would look at the above seven and quickly find that they all have one theme in common. China is a difficult, even dangerous place for foreign companies doing business there, seeking to do business there, or even doing business with Chinese companies. And your salvation comes from knowing and obeying the law and being able to use the law to your advantage. Hey, that’s what we do for a living: we are China attorneys and we help foreign companies gain an advantage over Chinese companies by using the law.

But I have to admit that this all can get a bit unrelenting and that there is more to life than gloom and doom. And hey, if you knew us, you would quickly learn that in real life we are some of the nicest most optimistic upbeat people  you could ever hope to meet. Truly.

And today I aim to show that with the following link to an amazing video on North Korea/South Korea relations by a true expert in the field. Now I could tell you that I am posting this video because the relations between North Korea and South Korea are in many ways a proxy for the relations between China and the United States, and then I could go on to discuss how the relations between these four countries might impact your business with China. But I won’t even try that. Instead, I will admit that I am posting this for one reason and one reason only. Because I found this to be one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. Maybe it is because I have done many a TV (and radio) interview myself (too early in the morning or too late at night) in a room with the door closed and sometimes with one or both of my daughters making noise in the background, and always living in fear that one just might burst in while I am talking, as they so often used to do when I was on my cell phone talking to a client. Heck, at a certain age, they used to mimic me or try to get me to laugh while on those calls. So maybe I find the following video and article so incredibly funny simply because I can so relate to it. Be that as it may. No ulterior motives here. No China business scare tactics here. Just an attempt to get you to laugh and enjoy.

Watch the video first then read this article (please, please, please read the article, which analysis heightens the video and is almost as funny as the video itself) and then watch the video again. Then let us know what you think. I’m guessing many of you have already seen it, but enjoy it again; it does not get old.

Nobody panic, we will eventually return to our regularly scheduled programming. In the meantime though, have a great day. China attorneys

China media and entertainment lawOur Beijing-based entertainment attorney, Mathew Alderson, will be speaking on a panel at Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles on January 19th. The panel is entitled “China and Hollywood: Distribution and Censorship in a Cross-Pacific Partnership“.

Mathew’s panel is part of the Southwestern Law School’s 14th Annual Media Law Conference, whose theme this year is: Keeping the Beat in a Crazy Year: Blurred Lines and Border Crossings.

Mathew’s panel will focus on how to work within China’s legal system on new productions and on how to deal with the unique challenges China presents when doing productions there. The event will be moderated by Covington’s Nicholas Francescon. The other panelists will be J. Martin Willhite, General Counsel and COO of Legendary Pictures, and Sheri Jeffrey from Hogan Lovells. The Conference is presented by the Biederman Entertainment and Media Law Institute and the Media Law Resource Centre.

If you are interested in China media and entertainment law or media and entertainment law generally (particularly IP law), you should go. The conference runs from 1 pm until 7 pm, with the post-event reception scheduled to last until 8 p.m. Go to this link to register.

We hope to see you there.

Cuba investment laws

Of course it’s not, but having just returned from ten days there, I figured I needed to write about it and since this is the China Law Blog (and not the Cuba Law Blog, which url my firm owns!), I figured I would need to get “China” somewhere in the title.

But Cuba does have a lot of similarities to China, at least China two decades ago. I went to Cuba in large part because my firm has an office in Barcelona, Spain, and to our Spanish clients, going into Cuba just is not all that exotic. One quick side note. I went to Barcelona immediately before heading to Cuba to meet with our Spain lawyers there and to give a speech on protecting your IP from China. I probably told a dozen people of how I would be heading to Cuba right from Spain and probably a half dozen of them said something along the lines of how they were worried about how “the Americans are going to spoil it.” After getting back, I share their concerns.

But without further ado, here are my random thoughts on Cuba.

  1. I spent 90 percent of my time in Havana, at an AirBnb in Nuevo Vedado, with a host who spoke maybe ten words of English, but who actually seemed to enjoy speaking with me despite my less than perfect Spanish. This host let me know that though most people in Cuba rely on either God or the government, he — being an engineer — had learned to rely on his own intellect. I also went to Viñales and to Miramar (which is really just a Havana suburb).
  2. I was surprised at how often I was approached on the street by people who simply wanted to use their English and who wanted me to know that “the United States is the best country in the world.”
  3. Pretty much everybody also wanted me to know that they thought Trump was either “crazy” or “interested in just the money.” I heard both of these things so many times that I began to wonder whether the press was saying this.
  4. Speaking of the press, every single person I asked (of all skin colors) insisted that racism had been “eradicated” in Cuba. I wish that were true, but know that it is not, but based on my observations alone (and the huge number of interracial couples and friendships), the situation appears impressive.
  5. Cuba is an incredibly safe city. Every person (including those I trusted) said violent crime is virtually non-existent. Many warned me of pick-pockets as though they were everywhere, but I saw no evidence of that. Nobody seems to hesitate to walk alone at night, anywhere.
  6. The food was much better than I expected. I would describe it as very good, but not amazing. The two best restaurants were Atelier (where President Obama went) and La Guarida (where every celebrity goes. As evidence of their standing, these were the only two restaurants that had Diet Coke.
  7. You cannot use your American credit cards anywhere, and I suspect this is because no American bank will run them through. Yet.
  8. The Internet is terrible in Cuba. Terrible. It literally went out for a day, pretty much everywhere in Havana, including the airport. The only fast Internet I found was in the business center at the Hotel Nacional. Second best was at the Melia Hotels.
  9. The grocery stores are not well stacked. At all.
  10. Many small businesses are springing up.
  11. Some of the people with whom I spoke had nothing but good things to say about Cuba. Some told me that 75-80 percent of the people eat pretty much nothing but rice and beans and eggs and bread, all of which are really really cheap, but most every other sort of food is not.
  12. Most of the foreign investment in Cuba is from Spanish companies, but Canadian, Mexican and other Latin American companies are there as well, with China seeming to be accelerating its investments too, especially in building new hotels.
  13. Things do not happen on American time. We wanted to go to Trinidad one day and the taxi driver with whom I had made the arrangements and confirmed multiple times showed up 45 minutes late and with a different car, one that was way way way too small. So we had to adapt. There is a lot of that in Cuba. I can remember only one meal where the restaurant had everything we ordered off the menu.
  14. Jose Marti Airport has five terminals, spread throughout the city. At least two are international terminals, so know before you go.
  15. Cuba’s foreign investment regime makes China’s seem like a can of corn (figured I had to get in a baseball reference somewhere).

The question everyone asks me is whether they should go to Cuba and, if so, when. My answer is as follows:

Most emphatically yes. The people are great. The scenery is great. The buildings are great. The cars are great. The food is good. The place is safe and great for walking. But do not go there expecting Paris because you will be disappointed. And I cannot stress enough how you have to be prepared for no internet and no credit cards. Bring a lot of money and bring a guidebook. Multiple times people would see us with our guidebook and plaintively ask us where we got it, and then when we told them the U.S. they would ask to take pictures of certain pages. Oh, and go now before the Americans spoil it.

 

China Legal HolidaysLike pretty much everything else related to China employment law issues, the rest (or not) schedule for national holidays is a bit more complicated than one would think. For example, employees get a couple of long breaks but usually have to make up the time on a weekend, so the actual days off are shorter than they at first appear. This concept of “making up the time for a legal holiday” (节假日调休) for purposes of having a (superficial) long break is unique in China and as with so many other aspects of China employment law, is quite different from the U.S. or the European systems.

Per the PRC State Council’s recent notice, the national holidays for 2017 will include the following: New Year’s Day, Chinese New Year, Tomb sweeping day, Labor day, Dragon boat festival, Mid-autumn festival and National day. Specifically:

  • New Year’s Day: A one-day holiday. As January 1 falls on a Sunday, China employees will get January their day off on Monday, January 2. 
  • Spring Festival (aka the Chinese New Year): A three-day holiday, i.e., the first three days of Chinese New Year according to the lunar calendar. China employees will get a long break: from January 27 through February 2, however, they will have to work on January 22 (Sunday) and February 4 (Saturday), unless their employers provide a more generous time-off policy (e.g., per the employer rules and regulations).
  • Tomb sweeping day: A one-day holiday and the specific date will be according to the lunar calendar. China employees will get April 2-4 off, but will have to work on April 1st (Saturday).
  • Labor day: A one-day holiday: May 1st. Employees will get 3 days off: April 29, 30, May 1st. Note however April 29 and 30 are rest days so it’s really just one day off.
  • Dragon Boat Festival: A one-day holiday and the specific date will be according to the lunar calendar. Employees will get May 2829 and 30 off, but will have to work on May 27 (Saturday).
  • Mid-Autumn Festival: A one-day holiday and the specific date will be according to the lunar calendar) (Three days—October 1, 2 and 3). This Festival will be combined with National Day in 2017, meaning that China employees will get a long break from October 1 through 8, but will have to work on September 30 (Saturday).

Bottom line: As a China employer, if possible, do not have your employees work on a legal holiday.

 

China Lawyers

 

From all of us, to all of you,

Happy Hanukkah, Festivus, Kwanza, and Winter Solstice, and Merry Christmas too!

ENJOY the season/holidays!

Cómo proteger su IP en China y de ChinaLa mañana (viernes, 16 de diciembre) daré una charla en una de mis ciudades favoritas y sobre uno de los temas que más me apasionan: Cómo proteger su IP en China y de China. Esta ponencia se enfocará en la protección de la propiedad intelectual relacionada con el hardware y los productos del Internet de las Cosas (IoT), pero tendrá una aplicación homogénea a casi cualquier producto o servicio. Pulse aquí para registrarse.

Mi ponencia es un Hardware Massive-Barcelona Event (un grupo verdaderamente maravilloso – con el que tuve la oportunidad de realizar una ponencia en el Hardware Massive de Shenzhen justo el mes pasado). Hardware Massive describe el evento de la siguiente manera:

Descripción de la Ponencia: Ya sea produciendo o bien vendiendo productos en China, las compañías extranjeras que establecen negocios en o con China necesitan saber cómo proteger su tecnología y su propiedad intelectual para evitar que ésta sea falsificada, pirateada o malversada. Hay riesgos sustanciales que las compañías deben identificar y encarar para proteger sus valiosos activos en IP. Entender el mundo de la IP en China y cómo defender sus derechos e intereses puede ser una excelente apuesta a largo plazo.

Un artículo reciente publicado en Quartz Magazine estableció que la mejor forma de enfrentarse el robo de la IP en China es básicamente no hacer nada, ya que hay muy poco que uno pueda hacer al respecto. Algunas compañías chinas harán todo lo posible para apropiarse de su IP, y nuestro ponente no discutirá dicha realidad . Pero, en lugar de quedarse sentado viendo como alguien se apropia de sus ideas, Dan, de forma práctica y vehemente sostiene que si se toman los pasos legales adecuados, Usted puede proteger su IP de forma efectiva: no tiene sentido pasar por todo lo que implica crear y desarrollar su producto sólo para regalarlo. En su ponencia, Dan explicará formas de proteger su IP en China y de China. Proveerá métodos que son factibles y que de hecho funcionan, incluso para las “Startups” que se atreven a fabricar en China por primera vez.

La agenda del evento es la siguiente:

17:45-18:00: Inscripción y Networking

18:00-18:10: Introducción por Ignasi Pascual

18:10-19:00: Dan Harris: “Cómo proteger su IP en China” con sesión de preguntas y respuestas.

19:00-20:00: Bebidas con networking y turno de preguntas

 

Para mayor información acerca de este evento, por favor diríjase aquí.

¡Espero verle!

 

Barcelona hardware IPTomorrow (Friday, December 16), I will be speaking in one of my favorite cities on one of my favorite topics: How to protect your IP in and from China. Though I plan to focus on protecting intellectual property related to hardware and Internet of Things Products (IoT), my talk will apply to pretty much any product or service. If you are interested in attending, please go here to register. There is no charge!

My talk is a Hardware Massive- Barcelona Event and Hardware Massive describes it as follows:

 

Talk Description:  Whether producing goods in China or selling to the Chinese market, foreign companies that engage in business with China need to know how to protect their technology and other intellectual property from being counterfeited, pirated, or otherwise misappropriated. There are substantial risks companies must identify and address to protect their valuable IP assets. Deals made in China can threaten IP rights not just in China, but in markets around the world. Understanding the Chinese IP landscape and how to manage the pertinent issues can go a long way to safeguarding your valuable IP interests.

A recent Quartz Magazine story stated that the best way to deal with China IP theft is basically to enjoy it because there is little you can do about it. Chinese companies will do everything they can to relieve you of your IP, and our speaker does not dispute that. But instead of just allowing your IP to be taken, Dan vehemently contends that your taking just a few rather basic legal steps can protect your IP. It doesn’t make sense for you to go through all the trouble to create and develop your product just to give it away. In his talk, Dan will discuss ways to protect your IP in and from China. He will provide methods that are doable and that actually work, even for startups having their products made in China.

The event agenda is as follows:
17:45-18:00: Registration & Networking
18:00-18:10: Opening Remarks by Ignasi Pascual
18:10-19:00: Dan Harris: “How to Protect your IP from China” w/ Q&A’s
19:00-20:00: Drinks w/ Networking and 1-on-1 questions

For more information and to sign up, please go here.

I hope to see you there!

 

Cómo proteger su IP en China y de China

El próximo 16 de diciembre daré una charla en una de mis ciudades favoritas y sobre uno de los temas que más me apasionan: Cómo proteger su IP en China y de China. Esta ponencia se enfocará en la protección de la propiedad intelectual relacionada con el hardware y los productos del Internet de las Cosas (IoT), pero tendrá una aplicación homogénea a casi cualquier producto o servicio. Pulse aquí para registrarse.

Mi ponencia es un Hardware Massive Event (un grupo verdaderamente maravilloso – con el que tuve la oportunidad de realizar una ponencia en el Hardware Massive de Shenzhen justo el mes pasado). Hardware Massive describe el evento de la siguiente manera:

Nuestro destacado ponente será Dan Harris, miembro fundador de Harris Bricken (www.harrisbricken.com), un firma internacional de abogados con oficinas en Seattle, Barcelona, Beijing, Portland y San Francisco que se centra en representar a nivel internacional a compañías europeas y estadounidenses, así como a compañías extranjeras (incluyendo empresas chinas) en los Estados Unidos. Dan publica y expone con asiduidad sobre derecho internacional, con un enfoque en la protección de los negocios extranjeros y sus operaciones internacionales. También es un bloguero prolífico ampliamente seguido, y publica como co-autor el premiado blog “China Law Blog”. www.chinalawblog.com

Dan ha sido entrevistado sobre asuntos relacionados con el derecho internacional por la Revista Fortune Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Fox News, CBC, BBC World, Revista Forbes y CNN, entre otros. Varios de sus artículos sobre derecho internacional se publicaron en revistas líderes como el Wall Street Journal, el Bloomberg Law Reports, Forbes Magazine y el National Law Journal.

Descripción de la Ponencia: Ya sea produciendo o bien vendiendo productos en China, las compañías extranjeras que establecen negocios en o con China necesitan saber cómo proteger su tecnología y su propiedad intelectual para evitar que ésta sea falsificada, pirateada o malversada. Hay riesgos sustanciales que las compañías deben identificar y encarar para proteger sus valiosos activos en IP. Entender el mundo de la IP en China y cómo defender sus derechos e intereses puede ser una excelente apuesta a largo plazo.

 

Un artículo reciente publicado en Quartz Magazine estableció que la mejor forma de enfrentarse el robo de la IP en China es básicamente no hacer nada, ya que hay muy poco que uno pueda hacer al respecto. Algunas compañías chinas harán todo lo posible para apropiarse de su IP, y nuestro ponente no discutirá dicha realidad . Pero, en lugar de quedarse sentado viendo como alguien se apropia de sus ideas, Dan, de forma práctica y vehemente sostiene que si se toman los pasos legales adecuados, Usted puede proteger su IP de forma efectiva: no tiene sentido pasar por todo lo que implica crear y desarrollar su producto sólo para regalarlo. En su ponencia, Dan explicará formas de proteger su IP en China y de China. Proveerá métodos que son factibles y que de hecho funcionan, incluso para las “Startups” que se atreven a fabricar en China por primera vez.

La agenda del evento es la siguiente:

17:45-18:00: Inscripción y Networking

18:00-18:10: Introducción por Ignasi Pascual

18:10-19:00: Dan Harris: “Cómo proteger su IP en China” con sesión de preguntas y respuestas.

19:00-20:00: Bebidas con networking y turno de preguntas

Para mayor información acerca de este evento, por favor diríjase aquí. ¡Espero verle!

 

Barcelona hardware IPOn December 16, I will be speaking in one of my favorite cities on one of my favorite topics: How to protect your IP in and from China. My talk will focus on protecting intellectual property related to hardware and Internet of Things Products (IoT), but it will have uniform application to pretty much any product or service. Go here to register.

My talk is a Hardware Massive Event (a truly great group — I spoke at Hardware Massive-Shenzhen just last month), and Hardware Massive describes it as follows:

Our featured speaker will be Dan Harris, the founding member of Harris Bricken (www.harrisbricken.com), an international law firm with offices in Seattle, Barcelona, Beijing, Portland, and San Francisco that focuses on representing European and American companies overseas and foreign (including Chinese companies) in the US. Dan writes and speaks extensively on international law, with a focus on protecting foreign businesses in their overseas operations. He is also a prolific and widely followed blogger, writing as the co-author of the award-winning China Law Blog. www.chinalawblog.com

Dan has been interviewed on international law issues by Fortune Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Fox News, CBC, BBC World, Forbes Magazine, and CNN, among others. A number of his articles on international law have been published in leading publications, such as the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg Law Reports, Forbes Magazine, and the National Law Journal.

Talk Description:  Whether producing goods in China or selling to the Chinese market, foreign companies that engage in business with China need to know how to protect their technology and other intellectual property from being counterfeited, pirated, or otherwise misappropriated. There are substantial risks companies must identify and address to protect their valuable IP assets. Deals made in China can threaten IP rights not just in China, but in markets around the world. Understanding the Chinese IP landscape and how to manage the pertinent issues can go a long way to safeguarding your valuable IP interests.

A recent Quartz Magazine story stated that the best way to deal with China IP theft is basically to enjoy it because there is little you can do about it. Chinese companies will do everything they can to relieve you of your IP, and our speaker does not dispute that. But instead of just allowing your IP to be taken, Dan vehemently contends that your taking just a few rather basic legal steps can protect your IP. It doesn’t make sense for you to go through all the trouble to create and develop your product just to give it away. In his talk, Dan will discuss ways to protect your IP in and from China. He will provide methods that are doable and that actually work, even for startups having their products made in China.

The event agenda is as follows:
17:45-18:00: Registration & Networking
18:00-18:10: Opening Remarks by Ignasi Pascual
18:10-19:00: Dan Harris: “How to Protect your IP from China” w/ Q&A’s
19:00-20:00: Drinks w/ Networking and 1-on-1 questions

 

For more information about this event, please go here. I hope to see you there!