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2021-07-23 08:08:31

PayU invests in blockchain-based payments with CELO and launches new stablecoin option to 450,000 merchants

One of the largest online payment service providers for emerging markets, PayU, has purchased CELO, and will also offer Celo stablecoins as a payment option for merchants, powered by First DAG

Amsterdam and San Francisco, 21 July 2021: PayU, the payments and fintech business of Prosus, has announced its collaboration with Celo, the mobile-first, open-source blockchain ecosystem focused on making DeFi accessible to anyone with a smartphone. In addition to a purchase of CELO, the utility and governance token for the Celo community, PayU has partnered with payment infrastructure company First DAG and Celo's Alliance For Prosperity to offer stablecoin payments. With this integration, almost half a million of PayU's merchants will be able to accept Celo's stablecoin, cUSD.

The move will open the doors for millions of people in emerging markets who are underserved by traditional financial institutions to easily pay for groceries, subscription services, and retail goods at participating merchants. PayU's current merchant list spans major online marketplaces and retailers.

PayU is one of the world's leading online payment service providers, operating in more than 50 markets, supporting over 450,000 merchants and millions of customers across Latin America, Africa, Europe and Asia. Stablecoins are particularly well-suited for high-growth markets like these because they provide access to USD and EUR-backed digital assets that are protected from the volatility of some fiat currencies and of cryptocurrencies more broadly. High-growth market participants can easily spend, save, and send money without needing to access traditional financial institutions or volatile local fiat.

Mario Shiliashki, CEO of PayU Global Payments Organisation said: "This move aligns with our vision of a world without financial borders where everyone can prosper. We strive to equip merchants and their customers with the latest payments solutions and this drive​​has led us to invest in CELO and purchase tokens, in addition to integrating the stablecoin offering for our clients and partners. . As digital transactions become the norm, it is important that we equip merchants and customers with the latest payments solutions. Working with First DAG and Celo to offer a new payment option creates new opportunities for e-commerce merchants and creators, and will open new doors for users to transact freely."

Using First DAG's platform, which acts as a middle layer between the merchant and its bank of choice, PayU's merchants can seamlessly accept stablecoin payments without integrating additional blockchain components. First DAG's payment platform manages the processing rail and custodial wallet in the background, so merchants can integrate stablecoins with no additional setup.

Ran Goldi, CEO of First DAG, said: "Innovative fintechs such as PayU are leading the evolution of payments towards digital currencies, leveraging Celo's international network. PayU's merchants are set to gain from minuscule fees and near real-time settlement and pay-outs."

PayU and First DAG are also joining Celo's Alliance For Prosperity, which enables collaborations across the technology stack and offers a way for developers to build decentralized mobile apps (dApps) that are based on Celo's blockchain platform. They  join Opera, Deutsche Telekom, Andreessen Horowitz, Coinbase Ventures, Gitcoin, Anchorage, and over 150 different organizations that are building and integrating payment solutions that better serve the needs of users globally.

Chuck Kimble, Head of Celo Alliance for Prosperity, said: "This ecosystem built between First DAG, PayU, and Celo is the perfect example of how digital assets can deliver in practice on its promise to democratize access to money anywhere in the world. As more merchants come online to offer this solution, stablecoins will become commonplace, unleashing major benefits for users like near-instant global transactions."

Media Contacts:

PayU: PayU@missive.co.uk

Celo: celo@wachsman.com

First DAG: first@momentousuk.com

About PayU

PayU is the payments and fintech business of Prosus, a global consumer internet group and one of the largest technology investors in the world. PayU is a leading online payment service provider, operating in 50+ high growth markets, dedicated to creating cutting-edge financial services tailored to the needs of over 300,000 merchants and millions of consumers. Focused on empowering people through financial services and creating a world without financial borders where everyone can prosper, PayU is one of the biggest investors in the fintech space, with investments totalling $1 billion to date.

​​

As an online payment service provider, it deploys more than 300 payment methods and PCI certified platforms to process approximately 3.2 million payments every single day. It also specialises in innovative consumer and small business products that improve access to credit and banking services in markets that are underserved by traditional financial services providers.

PayU also developed LazyPay in 2017, an alternate lending platform to offer credit solutions such as Small Ticket Credit (Buy Now Pay Later), App-Based Loans (Instant Personal Loans), and Point of Sale Credit (Merchant EMI). LazyPay Buy Now Pay Later is currently live on 100+ merchants such as Byju's, Swiggy, Flipkart, Makemytrip, Dunzo, Vodafone, Zomato, Bookmyshow, Oyo, Tata Sky and many more.

For more information, please visit: https://corporate.payu.com/

About First DAG

First DAG is building the future of the digital asset economy. They have developed the first global digital payment platform for Merchants, PSPs, and Acquirers, to make it safe and straightforward for them to accept digital payments, such as Diem, CBDCs, and Stablecoins. For more information, please visit: https://www.firstdag.com/

About Celo

Celo is a mobile-first, open-source ecosystem of technologies, organizations and individuals that all share a common mission of building a financial system that creates the conditions for prosperity for everyone. The Celo ecosystem includes a decentralized, proof-of-stake blockchain technology stack (Celo Platform), a native asset (CELO),  stablecoins (cUSD, cEUR), and the Celo Alliance for Prosperity, with over 150 organizations around the world, including Deutsche Telekom, Opera, Andreesen Horowitz, Anchorage, Coinbase, GSMA, Grameen Foundation, Prosegur, Abra, and cLabs, a service organization dedicated to growing and developing the Celo ecosystem. For more information, please visit: https://celo.org/



2021-06-18 11:10:36

Jam-packed with passion

Leaving their jobs at one of the largest fruit businesses in the southern hemisphere to become entrepreneurs, was the sweetest thing this young and dynamic couple could have done…

When it comes to small business, it is always refreshing to discover new black start-ups that venture into unknown territory – into spaces that have been traditionally, and historically not predominantly occupied by people of colour. It is not just exciting, but it also beautifully shows off the courage and determination of our young black entrepreneurs, despite the often extreme challenges that one would associate with venturing into the unknown.

One such a fine example we recently stumbled upon was the success story of Christynn and Nigel Jacobs, a young Ceres couple, who, in 2018 found the courage to quit their day jobs to follow their dream to own their own business.

Today Jacobs Jam Co, a start-up food processing and manufacturing business, produces choice grade jam (all 100% colourant, additive and preservative free) at its brand new factory, despite many obstacles getting the business off the ground and running.

The dynamic Christynn Jacobs (originally from the small fishing community Hawston near Hermanus), who owns 51% of the company, is a qualified food technologist with more than 10  years of work experience in her industry. She is the heart and soul of the business, having created the special and unique recipes from scratch in her kitchen at home, while upscaling to a commercial factory. Husband, Nigel (originally from Mitchell’s Plain on the Cape Flats), the Managing Director, owns 49% of the business, and brings to the party his business management expertise and skills.

The biggest contribution that we as business owners can make towards transformation, is to educate and upskill our teams

The couple makes it clear that the idea to start their business was not just motivated by their professional dreams – it was also about creating legacies.

“Both Nigel and I have had our fair share of the corporate world and we realised that when you retire from a corporate job, no matter how high you climbed the ladder, you cannot pass down your position to your children – and they must start all over again. We believe our ceiling must be our children's foundation.  

“But leaving a legacy is not just about us – it is about everything and everyone the business touches. This includes staff, our clients and the disadvantaged communities surrounding us. The biggest contribution that we as business owners can make towards transformation, is to educate and upskill our teams. In our industry it is very common that an employee starts out as a cleaner and 40 years later he retires - still a cleaner. We believe in upskilling and promoting from within. Talent is over-seen in the agriculture and agro-processing industry and we want to empower people of colour. It is time we close the race and gender gaps,” she told BBQ magazine in an exclusive interview.

Jacobs Jam Company employs 75% youth and 50% female workers to increase the totals to an even higher youth and female employment contribution.

Being passionate about what they do and their industry – and about being black small business owners, the couple say the next South-African mega food group must still be born and they are adamant it will be black – and that they are determined to position their start-up in the front of the race.

“Our ambition is to launch various different products with fruit as the common ingredient. We have plans to launch more jam flavours including fig, watermelon and we want to introduce a diabetic range of jams as well as top secret new flavours. We are also planning to launch new products like fruit juices, baby food, fruit snacks, sauces and chutneys making up a complete basket of products for consumers to enjoy.”

Christynn says one of the highlights of their company’s success was the fact that Jacobs Jam was the first in South Africa to commercially produce pomegranate jam.

But the biggest highlight, she says, was the recent factory visit by the Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Nomalungelo Gina, during her week-long visit to the Western Cape businesses, as part of the Siyahlola Programme. The programme is aimed as monitoring the performance of government supported businesses, but also specifically to assess how they have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We are very humbled by her visit and very grateful for the support that we have received from Government’s Small Enterprise Finance Agency (SEFA) and additional business support services from the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) in general over the past few years.

The next South-African mega food group must still be born and the Jacobs’ are adamant it will be black – and they are determined to position their start-up in the front of the race

Sharing the difficulties they have had to face to set up their business with Gina, the Jacobs’ said top among them were that when you are a start-up company, funders insist on a track record and for instance letters of intent from potential clients. And the fact that the big retailers in South Africa have not opened doors wide enough to give markets to small black start-ups.

In response, Gina said Government has put a lot of systems in place which include policies, funding schemes and various other forms of support programmes in place, but opportunities to interact with the small businesses operators and hearing of their challenges on the ground reveals the complexities of the work that still lies ahead to ensure that the economy is truly inclusive. 

“This tells us that there is a great need to always revisit our work to assess whether they enable us the tools to ensure we promote black excellence among entrepreneurs. We need to ensure that our systems encourage young entrepreneurs to enter the business space so that they help us to grow the economy of our country,” she said. 

­­­Sweetness aside, in business there are always challenges and Christynn says although their products are already on the shelves in many stores including Spar supermarkets in the Western Cape (Winelands,  Oudtshoorn, Callitzdorp, Ladismith and Ceres) and at specialist deli’s and farm stalls in the province, they are battling to get listed by the big supermarket chains – a move that is necessary if the company is to go national

She says the competition is tough but they believe that Jacobs Jam has the edge, as it is for our people, by our people. Furthermore, she proudly says: “Our packaging is convenient, modern and simplistic. We saw this as a great opportunity to be different and disruptive, because jam has always been in the same old fashioned tins and glass jars. Our tubs are 100% reusable and recyclable and can be used as your day to day ‘Tupperware bakkies’ alternative. When family visits, pack the barakat in the tubs because we know family don't return the bakkies!” she joked, adding that their ultimate goal is to have their products in supermarkets nationwide

Another plus for doing business with the company, Christynn says, is the fact that they source their fruits exclusively from local crops within a 100 kilometre radius from the factory.  “Our apricots and peaches are grown mainly in Montagu, strawberries in Stellenbosch, pomegranates in Wellington, and apples and pears right here in the Witzenberg area around Ceres and Wolseley,” she concludes.

Levy Graham



2021-06-11 10:22:24

Another accomplishment during the pandemic ...

At Modern Centric Holdings, our goal has always been to become a meaningful enabler of both the private and public sector service delivery through relationship building and exceeding our client's expectations with practical sustainable solutions. Covid-19 pandemic has reignited our passion and purpose to become a partner of choice.

Through our reignited passion, Modern Centric Holdings has celebrated remarkable accomplishments over the second quarter of 2021. We have recently been nominated for the Top Empowerment Awards in not one, but two categories. These awards have showcased companies leading in transformation over the past 20 years, acting as a beacon of inspiration for South Africa's fast growing SMME's and business elite.

Through this, Modern Centric will be afforded exposure among top industry stakeholders, honoring those who display innovative leadership and made significance in the communities in which they operate in.

Another accomplishment was receiving our membership certification from The African Professional Staffing Organization (APSO). APSO is the largest governing body in the South African recruitment industry and requires all its members to live up to their strong code of ethics.

Our third accomplishment was the appointment of Mr. Zakhele Mgobhozi, our Founder & Managing Director as an APSO Board Member who is the Chair for Professional Development Standards Committee. This appointment is another step in Mr. Mgobhozi's journey to assisting Persons with dis-Abilities, embracing them with sustainable job opportunities and making his wish of making it compulsory for companies to employ Persons with dis-Abilities a reality.

We believe his heading in the right direction of fulfilling his dream of transformation in dis-Ability employment sector.

Zakhele is a true testament that hard work & passion does indeed pay off. He started his business with R1500.00 and this has grown to a Qualifying Small Enterprise (QSE) employing over 25 permanent staff.

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2021-06-10 08:03:24

Impact Sourcing – the power to transform business and uplift communities through diversity and inclusion

SA’s thriving BPO sectoris primed to make Impact Sourcing an invaluable social compact for global businesses

With South Africa’sBusiness Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry voted the most favoured offshore CX delivery location in 2021 in the annual Ryan Strategic Advisory BPO Omnibus Survey,the burgeoning sector is well positioned to play a critical role in ‘Impact Sourcing’.  Also known as socially responsible sourcing,the global business services (GBS)sector leads the way in providing employment for previously disadvantaged and disabled young South Africans who find meaningful, stable employment and career development in its call centres, which are primed tocreate 500 000 new jobs in the next 10 years according to Business Process Enabling South Africa (BPESA).

“Many global business services organisations find themselves in a position to make a profound difference within disadvantaged communities through ‘impact sourcing’, by recruiting, training and employing socio-economically disadvantaged individualsas principal workers in business process outsourcing centres.  Without this intervention, manyvery capable, willing and talented people would be lost to the job market, and in essence to society, by not having access to the economy,” explains Trent Lockstone, CEO of The Impact Sourcing Institute of South Africa, a member of Alfbet Holdings.

The AlefBetgrouphouses a diverse range of customer service and collections BPO businesses and training organisations.  The Impact Sourcing Institute of South Africa was founded as part of a strategic drive by the group to provide full-time employment opportunities for disabled learners from disadvantaged backgrounds within its extended network of BPO businesses and corporate client base.

“Our model bridges the gap by recruiting people who struggle to access the labour market – either because they are outside traditional recruitment pipelines due to their lack of access to networks, or because transport costs from townships to jobs are high, or because they face physical disabilities which prevent their integration into the mainstream workforce. South Africa faces a burden of massive structural, youth unemployment. For disadvantaged youth who also live with a disability, the hurdles are enormous. They have traditionally been excluded from fully participating in mainstream activities, effectively preventing them from being full members of society and disempowering them from achieving any sense of self-determination. We believe that with the right leadership, investment and training, this large untapped pool of South African talent has the potential to be guided and supported into meaningful career paths in the Global Business Services sector, and uplifting communities, families and livelihoods in the process,” says Trent.

“We soon realised that many corporate businesses want to get involved and make a difference but lack the dedicated expertise and know-how of creating a structured work environment that is designed to meet the safety, security, training and support models needed to cater for disabled learners and employees.Besides living with a disability, many of these youngsters live in far-flung areas, away from urban business hubs and without the financial ability to access transport, let alone transport that caters for a disabled person. Many live without electricity, running water, connectivity and in many cases, access to specialised public healthcare that caters for their disability. The Impact Sourcing Institute's model was scaled to provide this critical link that bridges thegap between social imperatives and strategic business objectives, and addresses all the challenging practicalities that lie in-between,” adds Trent. 

Impact Sourcing potential in BPO sector is huge

The Impact Sourcing Institute works with learners to provide them with the required equipment to learn and work safely from home, along with support from work-and-learning-teams who engage with them daily. Where appropriate, learners are also trained within the institute’s dedicated call centre ‘simulation’ environment. Over the course of 12 months, learners gain valuable work experience and a recognised qualification upon course completion. Additionally, learners are upskilled with the life and soft skills required to succeed in a corporate environment.  At the end of the learnership, they are offered full-time employment within the BPO sector with the option to maintain their work-from-home structure where feasible.

“By providing fair wages and professional development to people who find themselves on the periphery of the socioeconomic pyramid, we can make a massive difference not only for these individuals, but for families and entire communities.  South Africa has an oversupply of underutilised talent, and it has become more pressing than ever that businesses provide pathways to ensure that our disadvantaged populations have access to formal employment and decent work.  The pandemic has widened the gap and deepened the poverty crisis besetting our most vulnerable communities. All businesses have a unique opportunity through impact sourcing to empower people living with a disability to improve their living conditions, shape meaningful careers and lift themselves and their families out of a cycle of perpetual hardship and poverty.  Not only is it a sustainable means to economic growth, but businesses get to support a programme with outputs that align with the UN’s sustainable development goals. At the same time, they are developing a skilled workforce for long-term employment, they get to fully maximise the benefits of their BBBEE scorecards in terms of skills development and they get to fundamentally reshape societal outcomes for the better,” concludes Trent.

South Africa’s BPO sector has a key role to play in South Africa’s economic recovery for all sectors of society.  By harnessing the power of impact sourcing to make a fundamental, long term difference in our most vulnerable communities, business gets to bring together the best of economics, quality workforces through diversity and inclusion, and socially responsible supply chains.

For more information visit: https://www.impactsourcinginstitute.org/

From spondyloarthritis and a disabling car accident to Impact Sourcing Champions

AyandaNtshingila’s spunk, positivity and all-round optimism is highly infectious.The 27-year-old mother of two is outgoing, jovial, loves working with people and is determined to make a positive impact on the world.Something she is bound to do in her learner management role at the Impact Sourcing Institute of South where she works withdisabled and disadvantaged young South Africans.

Ayanda is also living with Spondyloarthritis, an umbrella term for a chronic inflammatory and auto-immune disease that affects the spine, pelvis, neck, larger joints often in the arms and legs, and even internal organs, like the intestines and eyes.For Ayanda, the arthritis has attacked her lumbar spine and besides the debilitating effects on her condition, she also lives with chronic pain as a constant companion.

Her condition was finally diagnosed when she was in high school and living with her grandmother in Kwazulu-Natal. It had a marked impact on her academic performance at school as she struggled to manage her studies and exams in between regular hospital stays and physiotherapy sessions. In 2012, Ayanda’s grandmother encouraged her to move back to her family in Johannesburg where she could access better healthcare and physiotherapy care for her condition, something that was not readily available to her in KZN.Financially, it was incredibly tough for Ayanda and her family, with her father being the only breadwinner.

It was in Johannesburg during 2019, at the age of 25, that Ayanda would take up a learnership opportunity with the SA Business School, a training provider within the AlefBet Holdings Group. It was her very first exposure to the world of work. Fast forward to 2020 and the completion of her 12-month learnership, and Ayanda’s potential, work ethic and very obvious people skills saw her offered a permanent position in a management role within the Impact Sourcing Institute.

“I often tell our disabled learners that I am ‘impact sourcing’ in action – my progress and the opportunity I have are exactly why impact sourcing is such an invaluable tool towards changing lives in a very tangible and meaningful way.  I often think that my role today is all about helping the Ayanda of five years ago that faced incredible hardship and uncertainty. My lived experience of what it is like to be both disadvantaged and a disabled woman really helps me to understand andempathise with every learner and the many challenges they face.It’s a role I am passionate about. I love being the conduit between helping our disabled learners find their purpose, breaking down their psychological barriers after living with years of societal exclusion, and helping them find their way to playing a meaningful and fulfilling role in society.It’s also about showing society and corporate employers just how much unrealised potential there is in South Africa’s disabled communities.Being part of an organisation that’s all about giving back disabled people the gift of self-determination and self-worth is priceless,” says Ayanda.

SelbyJele’s life changed dramatically at age 13 when he was involved in a serious car accident that left him with permanent back injuries. While he is still reasonably mobile today, his back injuries mean that he is very limited inthe type of work that he can do - anything requiring periods of standing or physical exertion are simply not possible, and he is grateful for his office-bound role at the Impact Sourcing Institute.  Selby recalls the days as a teenager when his mom secured part time work for him at the retail store where she was employed. 

“In retail, the job is pretty much 95% on your feet, and it was murderous standing for such extended periods of time with my back injuries.  It was very clear that my back injury would dictate the kind of work and role that I could undertake as a young adult. Being from a disadvantaged and poor background and living with a disability meant that opportunities were few and far between in a country where more than 50% of youth are unemployed,” explains Selby.

But a chance opportunity to complete a learnership in IT and systems support for contact centres would be the precursor to Selby securing a permanent position in the IT department of Shapiro Shaik Defries and Associates (SSDA), a first party collections business within the AlefBet Holdings Group.  His immediate supervisor was quick to recognise Selby’s potential and encouraged him to apply for a role with SA Business School, a training provider within the Alefbet group.  From there, Selby was promoted again and joined the Impact Sourcing Institute where he now works as an administrator.

“It makes the world of difference to be in a workplace where you are understood and embraced. At the same time, while we have an employer that understands the challenges of living with a disability and coming from a disadvantaged background, we are also pushed and encouraged to fully embrace our potential. We are not limited by our disabilities here – while our bodies may be disabled in some way, our minds are not.  I am working in a call centre environment where the roles and opportunities are many and diverse, and there is real opportunity for career progression from junior to senior management roles.  My background does not define my future and my disability is not a full stop,” adds Selby. 

Ends…



2021-06-10 07:56:46

Made In China

OEM products and why you should register your trade mark in China

by John Foster, Spoor & Fisher

If products bearing your trade mark are manufactured and branded in China, it is now more important than ever that you register your trade mark there.

Most South African buyers of OEM products consider it sufficient to register their trade marks in South Africa, as this is where the products are advertised and sold to end-consumers. But problems can arise when trade marks are applied to OEM products made in China, particularly if that trade mark (or a similar trade mark) is registered by a different company in China.

China and OEMs

China has long been popular among South African buyers as a source of "Original Equipment Manufacturer" (OEM) products. To clarify, an OEM is a manufacturer that produces products or parts for its buyers, which on-sell those products to end-customers under their own trade marks.

Generally, an OEM not only manufactures products, but also brands and packages the products with trade marks prescribed by the buyer. The finished products are then collected by the buyer and shipped to the destination country for sale through the buyer's retail and distribution channels.

Conflicting decisions

There have been some conflicting decisions by courts in China regarding OEM products and whether the trade marks applied to those products are "used" in China.

The view for many years was that OEM manufacturing might constitute "use" of a trade mark, but as long as the use did not lead to a likelihood of confusion, there was no trade mark infringement. This view was expressed in the decisions by the Supreme People's Court ("SPC") in Pujiang Tahuan Lock Co Ltd v Focker Security Products International Limited (2015) ("PRETUL case") and Jiangsu Chang Jia Jin Feng Power Machinery Co Ltd v Shanghai Diesel Engine Co Ltd (2017) ("DONGFENG case"). It appeared from these decisions that the act of affixing trade marks in the course of OEM was "use", but on assessing the likelihood of confusion in relation to the OEM-manufactured goods, there might not be confusion and therefore, no trade mark infringement.

Things changed in 2019 with Honda Motor Co Ltd v Chongqing Hengsheng Xintai Trading Co Ltd ((2019) Zui Gao Fa Min Zai No 138) or HONDAKIT. In its judgment, the SPC held that there was no special exemption for OEM for export activities. In particular, it defined "relevant public", for the purpose of determining a likelihood of confusion, to include all business operators and consumers that may have access to the "infringing goods" (OEM-manufactured goods) for export.

The SPC made a number of key findings that affect OEM and trade mark use, namely:

·         It found that there was a possibility of contact with the businesses in transportation and that, given e-commerce and the Internet, even if the OEM goods were exported, it remained possible for the goods to return to China. Therefore, there exists a possibility that the trade mark on the OEM goods functions to distinguish the source of the goods for the relevant public.

·         It found that trade marks enjoy territorial protection and, accordingly, a buyer cannot rely on their trade mark rights in a foreign country (like South Africa) to grant an OEM authorisation to use a trade mark. Therefore, authorised use by a foreign buyer cannot be used as a defence against trade mark infringement proceedings in China.

As a result, the affixing in China of a trade mark registered in South Africa to goods meant only for export to SA can amount to infringement of an identical or similar trade mark registered in China.

Recent developments

The HONDAKIT case, although not necessarily binding on all courts, has become an important reference for courts when dealing with OEM and trade mark use. Several recent decisions by Chinese courts have followed the SPC's example and held that OEM can lead to trade mark infringement in China.

In addition, and perhaps of more immediate concern to buyers, China Customs has also changed its stance. OEM products that are suspected of having infringed a Chinese trade mark are detained and/or seized at the border, even in circumstances where evidence proves that the goods are for export only. If you have ever had your products detained or seized by Customs, you know the admin hassles, costs and loss of sales that can accompany such an unfortunate situation.

Uncertainty on this issue remains, but there is consensus on one point: that the most effective way to avoid issues with OEM products is to register, in China, any trade marks to be applied to them.

Advice for buyers

If you are a buyer of OEM products and you are concerned about the effects that this issue may have on your business, begin by instructing your trade mark attorneys to conduct a search to see whether there are any prior identical or confusingly similar trade marks already registered in China.

While you are at it, instruct a search in the General Administration Custom of China (GACC) database, to determine whether any prior identical or confusingly similar trade marks, copyright and/or patents (as the case may be) have been recorded with Customs. If so, the risk of detention of your OEM products by Customs is higher.

If your trade mark is available for registration, file a trade mark application as soon as possible, because the registration process takes approximately a year to complete, and you want your trade mark registered as soon as possible.

The good news is this: if your trade mark is used on OEM products that are for export only, the application of the trade mark to the OEM products in China amounts to "use" of the trade mark in China for the purposes of defending a non-use claim. Thus, if you register your trade mark in China and only use it in OEM, your trade mark will not be vulnerable to cancellation based on non-use.