Intellectual property protection concerns play an important part in the discussion regarding the trade war between the U.S. and China. This is because the technology and ideas a company create are among its most valuable assets.
A recent Forbes article acknowledges that an IP issue exists and may take time to resolve. It also points out that the issues behind the disputes are complex.
It is important to understand that China is highly motivated in protecting its infant industries. It does not want any particular sector dominated by larger and more established American firms.
Helping American companies in China thrive
This same article points out that cooperation rather than contentiousness is the best method for American company success in China. This can mean sharing information with Chinese counterparts.
China seems to be making efforts to fight IP theft. The Global Patent Filing blog provides a summary of such efforts. China laid down some of its original guidelines pertaining to IP protection in 2008. They established specialized IP courts in 2014 in various regions. Additional specialized IP courts arose in 2017. There is also talk of establishing a national IP appellate court.
It is possible that China’s Supreme Court will eventually hear appeals from these specialized courts over all of China. If such a step comes into being, it may improve the quality and consistency of rulings.
We will have to wait for further developments. But such steps should provide encouragement for American companies to continue doing business in China.
Whatever steps China does take, there will be a continual need for companies to seek guidance in the event IP disputes arise. Unfortunately, not every law firm has the knowledge or experience to provide representation. Companies will need to locate such protection from law firms who understand Chinese laws, culture, and its judicial process.