There is no substitute for proven expertise when it comes to international law. That’s why leading media around the world so often turn to Harris Bricken for our insight.
Even if an American brand does not plan to sell in China, the firm should still guard its trademark.
“We were contacted by four European companies that controlled, maybe, around 80 percent of a particular product market,” said lawyer Dan Harris, who advises companies that do business in China. The firms all produced in China but didn’t file for Chinese trademarks. One of their Chinese manufacturers went out and registered all four European brands.
“Once [the Chinese manufacturer] got their China trademark, they told these four companies: you cannot ship product from China anymore. It was a disaster for these four companies,” Harris said.Read
The accord now being drawn up to resolve the trade fight between the world’s two largest economies promises better treatment of U.S. companies in China and more Chinese orders for U.S. crops and other products. But rattled businesses on both sides of the Pacific are skittish about rushing back in to revive the once-booming investment activity between the two countries. “There is no way any deal between China and the U.S. will cause everyone on both sides to say, ‘We were just kidding,’” said Dan Harris, managing partner at Harris Bricken, a law firm that specializes in investment with China. “The tariffs and the arrests and the threats and the heightened risk have impacted companies and that will not go away.”Read
According to Griffen Thorne, a California-based attorney who specializes in cannabis law, that lack of standardization is what makes most regulatory agencies nervous about CBD. “The packaging and labeling requirements aren’t there yet in states that don’t have a cannabis regime,” he told me when I spoke with him about CBD’s sudden popularity in food. “If you go buy a CBD beverage and it’s not specially packaged—it just looks like another coffee or whatever—someone might take a sip who doesn’t intend to.” Purveyors also often make medical claims about CBD’s effects for which there is little scientific proof, including its potential as an anti-inflammatory and a treatment for aches and pains. Thorne said that those promises could also be a source of legal trouble for businesses in the future.Read
Adams Lee, a Seattle-based international trade lawyer at law firm Harris Bricken, said Trump appeared to want to continue holding tariffs over China, given the “Tariff Man” title he has applied to himself.
“He wouldn’t necessarily have to escalate and increase the tariffs from 10 per cent to 25 per cent,” Lee said. “He could say China has done enough to continue talking and maintain the current status quo.
“Seems like more work needs to be done by Lighthizer and lower-level folks with technical knowledge to hammer out what specific actions China needs to do, or what the US finds lacking.”
Steve Dickinson, writing for China Law Blog, suggested the Huawei case is a sign foreign companies and governments are increasingly unafraid of retaliation if they take action on Chinese intellectual-property theft. “With the deterioration of US-China relations, this concern seems to be melting away and decades of pent-up resentment against China’s IP practices could well spill out in a cascade of claims from the US and the EU and others,” he wrote.Read
“The thing that operators need to be aware of is if they transfer ownership of the patented technology to another company, how that company made use of that technology would be dictated by state law,” says (Alison) Malsbury. “You can patent cannabis-related technology all day long and not violate federal law, but where federal law comes into play is where you are actually using that patented technology.” In California, only license-holders can participate (and collaborate with other license-holders) in the state’s regulated system.
“Formulations are going to be one of the best routes to actually obtaining patent protection and that’s what’s appealing to pharmaceutical companies,” Malsbury says. “As we see them starting to take interest in cannabis, I think formulations will be one of the means by which they stake their claims in the market.”Read