Enterprises that want to enter the Chinese market through international franchising should prepare a comprehensive IPR layout in advance and pay attention to data protection in their activities. Although a registered trademark is the most important resource in the franchise system, in addition, the uniform decoration plans of franchise stores, window designs, original advertising slogans, advertising images, franchise operation manuals and training materials should also be protected by copyrights. The franchisee can apply for invention, utility model and design patents for the products. Such a system forms a solid weapon against imitators.
In addition, there is the protection of data exchanged between the foreign franchisor and the Chinese franchisee across borders. Generally, personal data such as customer contact information, purchasing preferences, spending records and other information must be shared by franchisees with the foreign franchisor for international marketing purposes. According to China’s Personal Data Protection Law, the franchisee must inform the customer as a data subject of the name and contact details of the overseas recipient, the purpose and nature of the processing, etc., and obtain the consent of the data subject. When personal data is exported, a Personal Information Security Impact Assessment (PISIA) is required by law. At the same time, the exporter of personal data must decide, based on the actual situation, whether to enter into a standard contract with the recipient abroad, certify the protection of personal data, or conduct the security assessment organized by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) to meet the requirements of the law.