More UK and European businesses are interested in getting their products manufactured in China. SanTranslate has recently been doing some translation for a client who wants to do just that. They’ve asked the Chinese supplier to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA).
China Law Blog recommends doing NDAs in both English and Chinese with the Chinese version being the official one. This removes any potential argument that the supplier didn’t understand what is was signing and will be readily understandable by any Chinese court should the need arise.
They also share the tip that presenting a potential supplier with an NDA before you disclose information gives you a good opportunity to test their reaction – if they don’t want to sign, do you want to do business with them?
When your business dealings move forward you may need to consider further protection of your IP. The UK’s Intellectual Property Office has this to say about IP issues when trading with China:
“The prevalent attitude of many overseas businessmen is that registering their intellectual property rights in China does little to protect their creativity and innovation.
However China has a well-developed intellectual property system which allows you to protect your IP as you would your physical property. It is well worth remembering that if you fail to make use of the system at the outset of your venture you could find real difficulties in enforcing your rights at a later date. (One should remember that the same is true for the UK!)
As in most developed countries in China it will sometimes not be possible to protect IP rights unless they have been officially applied for and officially acknowledged or granted. Nonetheless some IP protection in China takes place automatically. For example copyright protection exists without need for its registration and provided there is some form of verifiable record of what has been created.”
The IPO’s booklet, China: an Enforcement Roadmap, provides useful guidance on the Chinese Intellectual Property protection and enforcement system. See also their China IPR SME Helpdesk.