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Innovating for Sustainability: The journey of European companies in China

In the context of a rapidly evolving global economy, innovation and creativity play a key role in sustained growth and progress. While tangible assets are protected by conventional property rights, intellectual property (IP) is essential for the intangible ideas and creations that are the foundation of creativity and innovation.

2024 World IP Day provides an opportunity to reaffirm the significance of IP and to unleash the power of innovation and creativity. Innovative Belgian start-up DentPlanet specialises in the invention and development of eco-friendly dental products and instruments for public and professional dental applications. DentPlanet exemplifies how intellectual property (IP) rights can drive innovation and contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

DentPlanet: Eco-friendly dental innovations

DentPlanet recognised the environmental impact of dental consumables, particularly the significant import of Class I single-use dental products from China into the EU. By prioritising the Chinese market, this start-up aims not only to reduce environmental waste, but also to tap into one of the largest dental markets in the world - China.

DentPlanet & intellectual property

For an innovative company like DentPlanet, intellectual property is the foundation of its business strategy. The company’s proactive approach to IP began with the registration of a trade mark in China in 2022. Understanding China’s unique patent system, DentPlanet made the strategic decision to protect the colour and shape of its new invention with a design patent, which provides 15 years of protection. To ensure long-term protection, they will also register copyrights, which can be protected for up to 50 years.

Combating IP infringement

Managing IP issues is a constant challenge for innovators. DentPlanet discovered this when it found infringing products on a major e-commerce platform in China. The infringer had altered the product’s format and was selling it without consent. DentPlanet took action, supported by a patent evaluation report, which resulted in the removal of the infringing link after a 2.5 month process.

A sustainable future through intellectual property

As we celebrate World IP Day today, let us reaffirm the importance of using IP rights to protect innovation and maintain competitiveness in the target market for European companies like DentPlant.

Intellectual property is power in fostering innovation and sustainability. Strong IPR protection creates a better business environment that encourages innovation and creativity. It allows European companies to do their business securely in local markets, knowing that their intellectual property is well protected.

This article was co-developed by the IP Key China project and the China IP SME Helpdesk.

IP Key China is designed to enhance EU-China cooperation in areas of priority with a special focus on a market access related issue. The IP Key China phase II aims mainly at supporting the endeavours of the EU-China IP Dialogue mechanism and related Working Group meetings.

The China IP SME Helpdesk supports small and medium sized enterprises in the European Union (EU) and the other countries of the Single Market Programme (SMP)* to both protect and enforce their Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in or relating to Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan through the provision of free information and services. These take the form of jargon-free, first-line, confidential advice on intellectual property and related issues, plus training, materials and online resources.


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