There appears to be obvious misunderstandings between China and the United States concerning intellectual property protection. And concerning differences, many authorities do not believe that China will budge.
The White House claims IP theft costs the U.S. close to $600 billion annually. While Chinese officials state they will improve upon intellectual property protection to increase innovation, they will not do so as a result of U.S. demands. By claiming there is no basis for such allegations from the U.S., China appears to imply that it will do nothing to remedy the situation.
Differing perspectives between the two nations
According to one Chinese news source, China claims it has already increased intellectual property protection. They feel efforts began decades ago. In the 1980s, China became a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (EIPO), and at that point, it began enacting laws to protect intellectual property.
China reports that IP royalties paid to the U.S. rose from $3.46 billion in 2011 to $7.2 billion over the past year. China has also been showing signs of increased innovation. Some Chinese officials feel that U.S. complaints regarding intellectual property protection are not in good faith. China also seems to be saying that it will not give into U.S. pressure.
There are a number of newly introduced IP courts across China. Penalties for trademark infringement have dramatically increased. China is also increasing its staff concerning the handling of IP applications while also shortening periods for approval.
Still, many are skeptical about China’s truly addressing of U.S. concerns. As one expert states: the two nations “are speaking different languages.”
The U.S. is not the only country concerned about China’s IP practices. Enforcement of IP rights in China can mean overcoming a number of challenges including protectionism and a bias against the foreign firms. Many rulings against U.S. firms remain unpublished. And at least from the perspective of these U.S. firms, IP theft and forced technology transfers occurs – regardless of what the Chinese laws may state.
Because of such challenges, it’s important to locate legal counsel who understands these issues and has experience protecting the intellectual property rights of its clients. Such counsel can help businesses also understand their chances for success in enforcing such rights.