In 2017, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), China’s telecom regulator and industrial policy maker, issued the Circular on Comprehensively Advancing the Construction and Development of Mobile Internet of Things (NB-IoT) (MIIT Circular [2017] No. 351, the “Circular”), which sets out the policy goals and plans for NB-IoT development in China and concrete steps in achieving them. NB-IoT is a form of Low-Power WAN (LPWAN) technology dependent on basic telecom carriers’ cellular networks using licensed frequencies.

Highlighting the advantages of mobile IoT (NB-IoT), namely, wide coverage, large amount of connections and low power consumption, the Circular stresses the importance of stepping up the construction of NB-IoT infrastructure, development of related applications, advancing the deployment of NB-IoT networks, and general promotion of innovation in this area in China.
Continue Reading Covington Internet of Things Update: China’s regulatory environment steps up for Low-Power WAN IoT deployment

Last Wednesday, the U.S. and China announced a successful month-long operation resulting in the seizure of over 243,000 counterfeit Apple, Beats by Dr. Dre, Blackberry, Samsung, Sony, and UL electronics.  This was the first joint IPR enforcement operation between the U.S. and China’s customs agencies, and the largest bilateral customs enforcement effort ever conducted by

Alibaba, China’s largest e-commerce company, recently made headlines by committing to purchase an 18% stake in Weibo, China’s largest microblogging platform, for $586 million. The deal reportedly gives Alibaba an option to increase its stake to 30%.

The alliance will allow Alibaba to drive more web traffic to its e-commerce sites.  With over

On Tuesday, Microsoft announced a deal with ZTE under which ZTE will license Microsoft’s worldwide patent portfolio for use in cell phones, tablet computers, and other devices running the Android and Chrome operating systems.  Although the terms of the ZTE deal were not released, Microsoft’s agreements with other device manufacturers have required a royalty payment

On March 29, the American Chamber of Commerce in China (“AmCham China”) released its 15th annual Business Climate Survey.  This year, AmCham China polled 325 of its members, most of which are U.S. companies operating in China.  According to AmCham China’s Chairman, this year’s results reflect “expectations for growth” tempered with “a more conservative

By Joanne Sum-Ping with research assistance by Susan Shao

After enduring weeks of attacks from Chinese state-owned media, Apple has announced a change in its warranty policy in China.  The attacks began on March 15 when China Central Television (CCTV) criticized Apple’s customer service policies during a special program observing World Consumer Rights Day.  CCTV’s report supposedly uncovered discrepancies between Apple’s warranty policy in China and its warranty policy in other countries.  According to the CCTV report, when Apple replaces faulty iPhones in China, it retains the back cover of the original phone unless the customer pays a fee to change the back cover.  This practice is supposedly to circumvent Chinese regulations that require extending the warranty by another year if the entire phone (including back cover) were replaced.   (Apple reportedly replaces the entire phone for free for customers outside of China.)
Continue Reading Apple Changes Warranty Policy in China Following State Media Attacks

Last month, senior officials from the U.S. and China conducted the 23rd U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) in Washington, D.C.  The JCCT was founded in 1983 as a forum for high-level dialogue on bilateral trade issues.  This year’s JCCT resulted in several technology-related commitments from both China and the U.S.

China’s technology-related commitments included:

  • Requiring state-owned enterprises and banks to purchase and use legitimate software.
  • Reaffirming that technology transfer and cooperation will not be a precondition for market access, and pledging to revise regulations that specify an indigenous intellectual property requirement for high-level information security products.
  • Considering views of all stakeholders with regard to the regulation of information technology, telecommunications hardware, operating systems, applications, and app stores.  We previously wrote on China’s proposed regulations regarding smartphone applications here.  China also affirmed that it would not mandate any particular encryption standard (such as the ZUC standard) for commercial 4G LTE equipment.

U.S. technology-related commitments reportedly included easing restrictions high-technology and dual-use exports from the U.S. to China.  However, acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank clarified that restrictions would not be eased for items on the U.S. munitions list.
Continue Reading China and U.S. Make Technology-Related Commitments at 23rd JCCT

China appears to be moving forward with plans to further regulate smartphones.  The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology recently filed a notification with the WTO’s Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade of draft regulations governing applications that are pre-loaded on to smartphones.  The regulations were initially released for comment on June 1, and attracted

Last month, China’s State Intellectual Property Office released a draft regulation governing employment inventions for public comment.  If implemented, the draft regulation would grant significant rights to employee inventors and would affect all companies conducting research and development in China.  Notably, the draft regulation would limit the employer and employee’s freedom to contract out of

Although the number of patents filed in China has exploded in recent years, resulting in China becoming the world’s top patent filer in 2011, a new report from the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China (European Chamber) takes the position that “the overall strength of China’s actual innovation appears overhyped,” and that China’s policies designed to encourage innovation may in fact hamper innovation.   The policies identified by the report include quantitative targets for patent applications, financial rewards for use and development of Chinese-owned or “indigenous” intellectual property, and state-funded megaprojects.  The European Chamber asserts that China’s “Soviet-style” emphasis on quantity, incremental innovation, and large-scale projects may actually hold back China’s innovative capacity, since “[o]ne cannot drive or ‘force’ creativity, but only nurture it.”
Continue Reading European Chamber Concludes That Chinese Patent Policies Hamper Innovation