Before the next Business Beyond Borders event takes place at Texworld (Paris, France) – have you registered your SME or Cluster yet? –, our BBB blog articles are focusing on valuable information for companies in the textile and clothing sector. We are pleased to announce that, during the event, BBB participants will have the opportunity to learn about the latest Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) developments directly from Alejandra Chies, the IP expert who will be leading the “Guide to IPR Protection in China for the Textile Industry” workshop. Be sure to attend this insightful session on the 18th of September at 14:00h CET Paris, at be sure to stop by IPR protection at the Agora Apparel Sourcing Paris at 2PM, Monday September 18.
Our Road to Paris series continues with a relevant subject for textile and fashion companies exporting their products, machinery and/or technology: IPR protection. There are several methods to protect IPR, and the following will be reviewed in this article: Patents, Trade Marks, Copyrights and Trade Secrets.
Europe’s exports represent 30% of the world’s textile and clothing industry export figures; with investments of over €48 billion and almost €45 billion exported, this represents an important portion of the EU economy. Predominantly composed by SMEs, the sector has been focusing more and more on innovation, which in turn calls for stronger and better IPR protection.
Read our previous blog post on IPR Protection in China: An Overview
Euratex, Key Data The EU-28 Textile and Clothing Industry in the year 2016, 2017
The second textile customer for EU companies is China, which is why Business Beyond Borders has extracted some key information for IPR protection in this specific Asian country:
Patents must be registered in China: a patent registered overseas is not enforceable in China. Patents may be filed directly in China or through the Patent Cooperation Treaty System. This may comprise Textile Machinery, Yarns and Specialty Fabrics and Finished Fabrics.
- Trade Marks
Trade marks provide protection against use of identical or similar marks on similar goods. China uses the first-to-file system, meaning that companies may lose legal protection in China and take the risk of infringing others’ trademark if the same or similar mark has already been registered in China by someone else. The process may take two-three years.
Copyrights are granted automatically, although China allows voluntary registration. Copyright registration may be accepted as evidence of copyright ownership.
- Trade Secrets
In some cases, products or processes are protected as trade secrets instead of patents. Some companies may even prefer to protect their product or their processes as trade secrets. (Trade secrets are defined by China as valuable information that is not publicly known).
Lastly, the following infographic provides some useful tips for SMEs seeking advice on IPR protection in China:
Your IPR Insider, IPR in images, 2015, www.youripinsider.eu/tag/textiles/
Of course, nothing beats getting advice for the real experts, so we do hope to see you in Paris on the 18th of September!
 EC, Textiles and Clothing industries, 2017: https://ec.europa.eu/growth/sectors/fashion/textiles-clothing_en
 Euratex, Key Data The EU-28 Textile and Clothing Industry in the year 2016, 2017: http://euratex.eu/fileadmin/user_upload/images/key_data/Euratex_Keyfigures_-_2016-HR.pdf
 China IPR SME Helpdesk, Guide to IPR Protection in China for the Textile Industry, 2012: http://www.china-iprhelpdesk.eu/sites/all/docs/publications/textiles_guide.pdf