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News blog5 July 2021Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises1 min read

Establish copyright ownership in China

Written by Mr. Jian Xu, IP Expert and collaborator of the China IP SME Helpdesk


Copyright arises automatically, but it may not be easy to prove ownership of copyright in China. For some manufacturing companies, it might be possible for their products to be protected by copyright under the category of practical art. This gives another tool for enforcing their IP in China. The applicant may consider submitting the following evidence to establish ownership of copyright:

  1. A original photo of the product (if it is a film photo, the film and the printed photo should be submitted; if it is a digital photo, the photo stored on the disc should contain the relevant data showing information, such as the date, size, etc.; if the photo has been edited by using certain photo editing software, both the original photo and the edited version should be submitted);
  2. A statement claiming the ownership of copyright of the product photo;
  3. An agreement between the right holder and the photographer concerning the product photo, or an employment agreement stipulating that the copyright of any photo taken by the employee shall belong to the employer;
  4. The copyright registration certificate of the photo in other countries/regions, if any;
  5. If the relevant photo has been used in a patent application in any country/region, the relevant application material containing this photo can serve as evidence; and
  6. If the photo is posted on right holder’s official website, there should be a copyright statement on the relevant webpage. A notary deed concerning the downloading of this webpage would also be helpful.


This article was originally published on Dr Jian Xu's Linkedin profile.

Dr Jian Xu is the managing director of Gowling WLG’s Beijing office, and heads up the firm’s Chinese intellectual property practice. He is a dual qualified Chinese lawyer and patent and trademark attorney practising since 2006. He is the author of the book “Chinese Intellectual Property – A Practitioner’s Guide“, published by China IP Publishing House in 2013. 


Publication date
5 July 2021
Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises