China Copyright Claim
China Copyright Claim

TL;DR: Planning to launch your mobile app in China? Learn why obtaining a Software Copyright Certificate is essential for legally publishing and protecting your app in the Chinese market.

A Software Copyright Certificate (SCC, or “计算机软件著作权”) in China is crucial for mobile app developers seeking to establish and protect their app’s copyright. Each certificate includes a unique identification number, the registered name of the app, and the details of the company that holds the copyright. It’s essential for the app’s name on the certificate to match exactly as it appears in app stores to ensure legal protection. While an SCC is not a trademark, it serves as definitive proof of app ownership to Chinese app marketplaces. If the app’s name changes, a new SCC must be acquired.

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China Software Copyright Certificate
China Software Copyright Certificate

No, it is not a trademark. However, it serves as proof of ownership of the software to Chinese app stores.

No. If you change the name of your software, you must apply for a new Software Copyright Certificate.

When you’re planning to publish your apps in Chinese app stores, a Software Copyright Certificate is essential. This certificate acts as legal proof of your software’s ownership and is a requirement for app distribution in China.

What is the purpose of this certificate?

The main purpose of the Software Copyright Certificate is to combat the distribution of unauthorized apps. Historically, many local Chinese app stores suffered from the influx of pirated software, which not only harmed the legitimate app developers but also the consumers who might end up with compromised software.

How does this certificate benefit me?

The Software Copyright Certificate provides several key benefits:

  • Legal Protection: It establishes your ownership and helps protect your intellectual property rights in China.
  • Market Access: It’s necessary for listing and selling your app in major Chinese app markets like the Huawei App Market, which is one of the leading Android app stores in China, rather than Google Play Store.
  • Enforcement: If someone tries to publish a copy or a similarly named app, this certificate allows you to take legal actions to have those apps removed.

It’s important to ensure you have this certificate to safeguard your app and intellectual property in China’s vast digital marketplace.

No, it will not. To protect your intellectual property within mainland China, you must apply for separate copyright and trademark registrations specific to China.

Anyone can apply for a Software Copyright Certificate. However, it’s important to note that the application and review processes are conducted in Chinese. If you are not familiar with the language or the procedures, the approval process could be significantly prolonged.

The rule is straightforward: one Software Copyright Certificate is required for each app you plan to publish.

It needs 30+ working days after the application is accepted. If you are new to this procedure or plan to do it yourself, the estimated time is 1 to 2 months because preparing the required material takes time and is not easy to get right at first.

Registering a Software Copyright Certificate in China requires you to provide several key documents to establish your claim and facilitate the registration process. Here’s what you need to prepare:

  1. Basic Information About Your Company
    • Name: The registered name of your company.
    • Address: The official address as per your business registration.
    • Business License Number: Your company’s unique identifier in the business registry.
  2. User Manual
    This should be a detailed document that describes how users interact with your software. Ensure that each page of the user manual contains no fewer than 30 lines to provide comprehensive instructions and information.

  3. Software Source Code
    Include a copy of the software source code, formatted in a way that each page contains no fewer than 50 lines. This is to ensure that there is sufficient detail for a thorough review.

These documents collectively help in demonstrating the functionality and legitimacy of your software, ensuring that all legal prerequisites are met for a successful registration in China.

It is the required procedure by the Copyright Protection Center of China. The intention is to show you own the software or the app. During the application review process, the reviewer will assess the sample codes and the software manual you submitted, and all that will be part of the proof you own the software. The SCC also serves as your protection for your software in China.

For foreign companies wishing to register a Software Copyright Certificate (SCC) in China, there are three practical options:

  1. Registration via a Chinese Subsidiary
    If your company has a subsidiary in China, you can register the SCC through this entity. Although the process can be complex, our services include managing all required paperwork and coordination with the relevant authorities. This approach ensures the subsidiary is the legal owner of the SCC, simplifying legal processes.

  2. Partnership with 21YunBox
    Our company, 21YunBox, can register the SCC under our Chinese legal entity. While we will be listed as the official publisher of your app in China, a comprehensive contract will ensure that you maintain full control, ownership, and copyright of your app. This is often the preferred method among our clients due to its simplicity and effectiveness.

  3. Direct Application as a Foreign Entity
    You can apply for the SCC directly as a foreign entity by getting your company’s business license notarized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Chinese Embassy in your country (e.g., for U.S. companies). This process can take up to 2-3 months and is generally less recommended. The reason is that many top Chinese app stores do not accept foreign business licenses as valid proof of legitimacy, which might prevent you from distributing your app on key platforms.

How Can We Help You?

We specialize in optimizing the performance of apps and websites in China, ensuring they meet local compliance standards. Our expertise has helped major clients like Bottega Veneta, Ethereum, and Netlify successfully navigate the complexities of the Chinese digital market.

Interested in launching your mobile app in China? Contact us today. Our team is ready to provide all the information and support you need to publish your mobile apps legitimately in China.

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