Exhibition Intellectual Property Rights Protection in China


In today's competitive business world, entities (brands/companies/businesses) are investing more in research and development to create unique products and set themselves apart from their competitors. Often, necessary steps are taken to protect their Intellectual Property (IP). Entities would not reap full benefits of their research and development investments if their IP is not protected.

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) is critical to fostering original ideas and innovative concepts. All businesses should be informed of the IPR regardless of their size or sector. IPR can mean that an entity’s brand, invention, design or any creative form, is legally owned and cannot be duplicated, imitated, or copied by their competitors.

As the world's leading event organizer, RX is committed to providing information in protecting innovations and concepts, as well as relevant services during events to support IP protection.

This guide explains the importance of protecting IPR, the different types of legal protection available in China, and different measures that you can take to protect and manage your IPR. This will also provide comprehensive information to intellectual property protection during the exhibitions we organize and is not intended to be a substitute for Courts of Law.

Importance of Protecting Intellectual Property

Intellectual property rights are valuable assets for any business. These following rights will help:

  • Set your business apart from your competitors by offering customers unique product designs, technology, etc.
  • Build a clear brand differentiation
  • Sell or license your innovations in the future, hence providing you revenue
  • Strengthen your corporate branding in the market

Protecting Intellectual Property Rights at Exhibitions in China.

  • When planning participation in any exhibitions, IPR protection must be an essential part of the preparation.
  • Regulations and measures issued by Chinese authorities provide a good framework enabling P.R. China rights holders to react to IPR infringement at exhibitions in a quicker and more effective manner.
  • However, to fully benefit from the existing IPR protection measures, it is important to be proactive and to prepare well in advance. Research about China IP and consider seeking expert advice in drafting a comprehensive strategy which best suits your needs.

The Basics

The basis of any IPR protection in China starts from the registration of your property rights in the early stages of Chinese market entry. The following basic actions provide a foundation for a good IP strategy:


  • Initially, brands/businesses should apply for trademark registration in China. The process takes about one or two years.
  • If you have a valid international trademark registration covering China, you must obtain a Chinese confirmation certificate before IPR enforcement action can be taken. The process takes about three months.
  • It is important to note that wherever a trademark is first used. Whether an international exhibition sponsored or recognized by the Chinese Government, the applicant for the trademark registration may enjoy a six-month priority right from the date of exhibition of the goods. Written claims for this priority should be made when the trademark is filed in China and evidence of such use submitted within 3 months. Failure to do so will negate any priority rights.


  • As a member of the Berne Convention, China automatically protects any copyright from Berne Convention countries. If it advised for entities to check if this applies to you. However, before direct IPR enforcement can be applied on copyright at exhibitions, it is necessary to obtain a record of the copyright. This process takes about 1 month.


  • It is also advised to apply for registration of patents in China. The process for registering a Design Patent takes less than 1 year, registration of a Utility Patent takes approximately 2 years, and an Invention Patent takes approximately 2-3 years.

IPR Protection Measures at Exhibitions

The P.R. China "Measures Regarding Intellectual Property Rights Protection at Exhibitions and Trade Fairs" came into effect on March 1, 2006 and cover exhibitions, trade fairs, and conventions operating within the realm of trade and technology. The measures apply to the protection of trademarks, copyrights and patents and provide a framework for handling IPR violations observed during exhibitions.

Possible punishment decisions against infringement based on IP complaints can include: an order to stop infringing activities, confiscating or destroying the infringing goods and promotional materials, or imposing of fines. Exhibitors that commit infringements twice will be banned from participating in the next exhibition.

Please note that when not personally present at the exhibition, foreign rights holders can entrust a local agent with the submission of complaints.

IPR Protection Measures Taken by RX Greater China

RX continues its commitment to provide information in protecting innovations as well as providing relevant services onsite at our events to support and to protect entity rights. At an exhibition, the following measures will be taken:

  • Circulation of the Practical Guide to IPR Protection to all exhibitors so that they are informed on IPR matters and whom to contact in case of filing for complaints.
  • Display of IPR notices on the show ground to actively inform all exhibitors and visitors on IPR matters. Steps to handling IP infringement disputes are clearly stated on these posters. IPR notices are printed in English and Chinese languages.

Exhibitor's Intellectual Property Protection Methods

  • On the first day of the exhibition, entities should visit the exhibition to investigate any possible infringements of their products IP.
  • In case of infringement, avoid disputing alone. Instead, obtain the necessary documents (see below) and any documentation attesting the presence of infringement (such as product catalogs belonging to the infringing exhibitor as well as exhibits photos).
  • Submit the documents and material to an IPR lawyer, a law firm or agency for further processing.

Documents to prepare

In order to act against IPR infringements detected at exhibitions, documents must be prepared in advance. Exhibitions are usually short in length, which makes it difficult to supplement or collect any missing documents on the spot.

The following documents are required to file complaints to the IPR Protection Bureau:

1.     A legitimate and effective certificate of IPR ownership as follows:

  • Trademark: copy of any PRC trademark registration certificate or any PRC trademark confirmation certificate confirmed by means of the signature or seal affixed by the complainant and identity certification of the trademark owner (such as a Business Registration Certificate);
  • Copyright: an effective Copyright certificate (ideally of P.R. China), identity certification of the copyright owner
  • Patent: PRC patent certificate, text of patent announcement, identity certification of the patent owner, certification on the legal status of the patent.

2.     The basic information about the parties who are suspected of having committed any infringement.

3.     The reasons and evidence for any suspected infringement; where an agent is entrusted to file a complaint, the relevant Power of Attorney shall be submitted.

Please note that foreign rights holders may also be asked to provide official Chinese language versions of the relevant documents and it is must to prepare them in advance.

Importantly, notice that if an agent is entrusted to act on behalf of the rights holder, a notarized and legalized Power of Attorney must be provided. The notarization and legalization processes can take several weeks. Take this into consideration when planning and preparing for exhibitions and trade fairs in China.

Other Precautions

Apart from preparing for possible action against infringement at the fairs, IPR considerations should also affect the overall design of the exhibitor's booth.

When an exhibitor’s new designs and technologies are presented at the show, it is important to consider how much can be displayed and to whom to display. Similarly, consider carefully what samples should be given to visitors. At present, it is common to set up a closed display area where visitors can be screened and validated before entering and the exhibits are not visible to any passers-by.

It is also important to have competent staff, including local experts, present at the exhibition and ready to deal with any arising issues promptly. IPR notices can also be set up around any exhibition areas, warning potential infringers of action against them and highlighting rights owned by exhibitors. This notice should be in several languages.

RX Greater China Exhibition IPR Consulting Services

As from 2007, representatives of Schmitt & Orlov Intellectual Property have been present at many events organized by RX Greater China to advise on intellectual property matters on the show floor. Please contact the Schmitt & Orlov regarding any IPR related enquiries. 

Schmitt & Orlov Intellectual Property

Contact: Ms. Chris Li, Ms. Yan Zhou

WeChat: Scan QR code on the right

Email: [email protected] / [email protected]

Tel: (86) 21 60793506

Fax: +86 21 6079 3507

Hotline during the exhibition: +86 21 6079 3506 Ext 8008/+86 184 0213 9240

China Intellectual Property Rights Contacts

  • Intellectual Property Rights Safeguarding Support:12330
  • China National Intellectual Property Administration Patent & Trademark Public Enquiry:
    +86 10 6235 6655
  • China National Intellectual Property Administration Patent Affairs Enquiry Email:[email protected]


The information included in the intellectual property column of this website is provided by Schmitt & Orlov Intellectual Property ("S&O") for reference purpose only and should not be regarded as professional legal advice. You should not rely on this information before seeking legal advice from competent lawyers. Instead, please seek for customized and targeted opinions from lawyers according to your own cases.

This information does not reflect the opinions and suggestions of Reed Exhibitions and S&O, nor does it represent the commitment by Reed Exhibitions and S&O to take any action. Although Reed Exhibitions and S&O try to keep the content of this column accurate and updated, they make no warranty or statement on the quality, accuracy, integrity and reliability of the information contained therein.

Reed Exhibitions and S&O explicitly declare that they will not be responsible for any action taken or not taken by anyone based on the content of this column.

If you have any questions about the information provided in this column, please contact S&O via email ([email protected]).