Chinese Premier Li Keqiang states that his nation will never allow mandatory technology transfers to occur. He made these remarks to an official of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Continuing discussions between the premier and officials of the WIPO will continue.
Such discussions concerning stricter intellectual property protections in China are a welcome note for American businesses. But whether there is any actual follow through needs to be seen.
Chinese initiatives to help protect intellectual property
The issue concerning forced technology transfers has been ongoing. Disputes between China and the U.S. over IP protection has led to our current trade war. And for the past year there has been an ongoing investigation by the U.S. concerning possible intellectual property theft.
Shen Changyu, head of the State Intellectual Property Office, asserts that protections already are in place. International patent applications in China are on the rise. He also feels that investigations by the U.S. under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 do not tell the whole story.
China promises further improvement in protections. The protections China plans to put in place will purportedly involve industry self-regulation. These also concern law enforcement and administration.
Undoubtedly, American companies can benefit from doing business in China. Companies can also benefit from purchasing technology from Chinese companies. But concerns regarding protecting one’s own intellectual property are entirely valid. Intellectual property is possibly the most valuable assets a company has.
It’s always prudent to seek the advice of attorneys who understand the many aspects of this complicated issue. Having someone to review your business plans in China objectively and who understands Chinese laws and business customs is invaluable.