China’s Progress on Intellectual Property Rights (Yes, Really)

Foreign firms have been slow to realize the substantial changes in China’s protection of IP rights.

The Diplomat
Date: January 20, 2018
By: William Weightman

China has long been seen as the “world’s factory,” churning out low-quality manufactured goods and imitating products and business models from abroad. Whether it is due to heavy-handed government interference or some cultural argument about Confucian educational values, China — or so the story goes — is a land of copycats incapable of innovation with no respect for intellectual property rights (IPR).

This, of course, is not accurate.

Yet many U.S. companies still believe this story. According to a 2017 survey conducted by the American Chamber of Commerce in China, member businesses are split on their views of China’s IPR laws and regulations; however, more than half of the respondents remain largely skeptical that laws protecting intellectual property will be properly enforced in China.

Enjoying this article? Click here to subscribe for full access. Just $5 a month.Foreign firms have long complained that enforcing their intellectual property rights in China is difficult due to local judicial protectionism, challenges in obtaining evidence, small damage awards, and a perceived bias against foreign firms.

However, over the past decade, China has become increasingly innovative and has demonstrated a serious resolve to enforce an effective IPR regime. Indeed, as Chinese firms focus on global expansion abroad and high-tech innovation at home, they have increasingly demanded effective IP protections from the government. In fact, many of the concerns raised by foreign companies operating in China have been addressed by legal reforms and new enforcement mechanisms.    [FULL  STORY]