• Mon
  • Dec 22, 2014
  • Updated: 11:15pm

US says China must do more to safeguard trade secrets

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 November, 2013, 9:35pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 November, 2013, 9:35pm

China faces steep intellectual property rights challenges which undercut Beijing’s efforts to boost innovation, the US ambassador said on Thursday, comments that drew a rebuke from China’s Foreign Ministry.

Intellectual property rights (IPR) are a perennial headache for foreign companies operating in China and critics argue that poor enforcement scares off firms from transferring technology or applying for patents.

Rights holders ... have told us ... that courts lack consistency in the application of procedural remedies and that damages awarded do not fully compensate for losses
Gary Locke

The United States has lamented that lax controls have made possible the “systematic stealing” of American innovations.

Ambassador Gary Locke said a “long road” lay ahead before rights holders in China could feel confident that their IPR would be protected under the law.

“Rights holders, including many Chinese, have told us ... that courts lack consistency in the application of procedural remedies and that damages awarded do not fully compensate for losses or fail to deter future infringers,” he told a forum.

“So long as such entrepreneurs’ efforts go unrewarded, China’s efforts to develop an innovative, 21st Century economy will remain stunted.”

China, he said, was “clearly moving in the right direction”, but the most pressing issue was reform of trade secrets law.

The United States has called China’s theft of trade secrets a “grave problem” as a target company can see market position and competitive advantages from research investment evaporate as a result of corporate espionage.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang disputed the comments, saying China had made “obvious” achievements on IPR enforcement.

“On the issue of protecting IPR, we hope that the country in question can increase dialogue and cooperation and mutual understanding and not blindly exert pressure and criticise,” Qin told a news briefing.

Experts have long argued that improvement in China’s IPR environment would accelerate when domestic companies felt their innovations where being stymied.

On Wednesday, a coalition of Chinese Internet TV firms and US film trade group the Motion Picture Association of America sued internet giant Baidu and smaller software firm Shenzhen QVOD for US$50 million in damages for what they called “rampant” piracy and copyright violation.

IPR rights have also been a sticking point in China-European Union relations, with Beijing calling for a relaxation of the limits on the export of European technology.

“On the export of high-tech ... one of the biggest impediments that European companies see is the sometimes insufficient protection of IPR. That being addressed would maybe boost high-tech trade most,” EU Ambassador Markus Ederer told reporters ahead of a China-EU summit in Beijing next week.


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This article is now closed to comments

Bu ll sh it. The USA did not steal China's trade secrets because China does not have any that it didn't steal already. China's economic miracle is entirely due to foreign investment, foreign technology, foreign know how and cheap labour, period.
The ambassador is right. European companies feel the same. Not said is that it also affects other Chinese IP holders; Chinese even steal more from other Chinese. Not to wonder innovation and R&D are still so much behind. Immediate profit at all cost and by all means. No ethics in China anyway and the government fails to change it.
Stealing trade secrets is R&D on the mainland and those companies are the ones who keep the Communist Party in power and wealthy, so why would anyone expect China to honor intellectual property and the fruits of one's labor. If you do business in China or with Chinese companies, expect they will steal your IP as soon as they can. If you lie down with dogs, you will get fleas.
US used NSA to steal trade secrets from countries and individuals, and now want China to do more to safeguard trade secrets ? What ? Is ? Going ? On ?
The issue of protection of patent, copyright, franchise, trade secrets,... was not explicitly mentioned in the reform lists after the third plenary session.
Oh Jesus! Oh Christ!
Well, even a faked item is faked. The following story is probably true.
A certain economics professor, in doing his usual research, bought a music tape in Apliu Street Flea Market (ShamShuiPo, Kowloon) in the early 1980s. The street was then famous for selling pirated products.
At home he found that the whole tape just had one song replayed again and again, not a dozen different songs as expected!
Come to think of it, it might not be so bad really, especially if that song is the best one in the album.
I always feel the geniuses of Chinese people could have been used in other much more productive and legal ways.


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