What are the top three products China’s infringers favor?
- Leather products (mostly expensive handbags皮具);
- Cigarettes and alcohol (this really raises health & safety concerns 烟酒); and
- Cosmetics (presumably for high profits 化妆品)
In 2016, the Guangdong Prosecution Authority made 1,973 arrests and charged 2,367 suspects with IP crimes. The cases in Guangdong alone accounted for almost half of all the IP criminal cases in mainland China.
Observations & Take-aways:
Because of this, if we notice infringers are connected with Guangdong in any way, our ears stand up! These investigations are more likely to unearth a lot more information than the client bargains for initially!
In the past five years, we have seen a gradual, but steady shift from luxury brands (such as LV and HERMES) to consumers’ daily products. Specifically, infringing cases targeting products such as cooking oil, mineral water, and car tires are definitely on the rise.
Good news (yes, I still manage to see the silver lining) is that such cases are more likely to receive criminal sentences. Bad guys are not just making a good living, they are profiting at the expense of the public’s safety and health. If you can make a compelling argument involving public health and safety, by all means do it – it will greatly increase the chances of success in your enforcement case.
Thoughts: due to Beijing’s famous smog weather and forever gray sky, maybe “clean air” is the next hot thing in China?
This is part of a series of three posts providing an update about criminal trademark cases in China. In the next and last post, we will discuss the TYPE of case that makes up the majority of criminal IP sentences – patent, trademark, or trade secret?