Ring the Right Bell for Enforcement of IPR in China

Christian Nowak, Science and Technology Adviser of BEA (Bureau d’Electronic Appliqué), a Belgian company that manufacturing sensors for especially doors.  BEA is active in China since 1996.  First only with a representative office. But the smart thing BEA did was they registered their invention patents and design patents and a trademark in China.

In 2002, BEA discovered that their product was copied.

China IPR SME Helpdesk posted a video of Nowak explaining how BEA dealt with the case.

According to Mr Nowak he went to a patent attorney, who advised him to go to the State Administration for Industry and Commerce.  “And on Monday Morning we were in Shantou city, north of Hong Kong, ringing the bell of the State Administration of Industry and Commerce and requesting the manager in charge of the patent infringement.

Say what?

Mr Nowak must have mistaken the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (which is in charge of trademark infringements) with the State Intellectual Property Office (which is in charge of patent infringements).

The raid by the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, or more likely, the State Intellectual Property Office, was successful.


Mr Nowak is enthusiastic about the administrative enforcement route and says that litigation costs too much time and money.  If it is simple straightforward case the administrative enforcement route might be recommendable. The real question is, however, whether the activities at the infringing premise will not be resumed a little bit later somewhere else. To avoid this waterbedding effect, one might want to really strike hard at the infringers, piercing the waterbed so to say.  A big advantage of the litigation enforcement route is that damages can be compensated. Then there is the criminal enforcement route, which can put the infringer behind bars, but which of course has higher evidentiary thresholds.

Here are some of the administrations one can go to to enforce one’s intellectual property rights:

– State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) = trademarks

– Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) = in case of shoddy goods

– State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) = invention patents, utility patents, design patents

– National Copyright Administration of China (NCAC) = copyrights and neighbouring rights

– General Administration of Customs = for all kinds of IPRs

– Public Security Bureau (PSB)/People’s Procuratorate Bureau (PPB) = in case of criminal enforcement


To give you a primer on how to enforce and who can help you enforcing your IPRs in China, read:

– How to work within China’s IPR enforcement system for trademark and design rights

– How to Prevent and Act Upon Intellectual Property Rights Infringements in China.


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