"China has a reputation for lax attitudes towards protecting intellectual property rights, especially those held by foreign companies. As a signatory of most international copyright standards agreements, it is obliged to investigate and pursue cases of infringement, but in the past, foreign companies have found it difficult to defend their copyright in China. The process is complicated and enforcement is often difficult. In the rare cases where a domestic court has found in favour of a foreign company, the compensation has been much lower than in international courts.Sources and further reading here, here and here
That trend is changing. Enforcement and legal groundwork have been developing quickly. In the past four years, China has consistently had the highest number of resident patent applications in the world, with the gap between it and competitors like Japan and the United States growing every year. As it moves towards a design and innovation driven economy, a robust copyright dispute settlement process will increasingly become a priority for domestic companies and therefore the legal system. This pressure will be the driving force behind China's changes in IPR legislation in the future. In 2010, Beijing courts alone handled almost 8,000 IP cases. In 2012, 2,150 patent disputes were handled by the State Intellectual Property Office, twice as many as those handled the previous year. So while there is still uncertainty in their copyright landscape, there good reason to be optimistic about the state of China's IPR enforcement laws going forward.
pointed out in 2012; it's essential to defend IPR in China to stop a local competitor from developing to the point where it can challenge a foreign company's own domestic market.
As China's entrepreneurs begin to focus increasingly on innovation, the legal system will put more emphasis on IPR protection. As IPR protection increases, it will drive the market even further towards design and innovation. It should no longer be a surprise to foreign companies that China is capable of building products that can compete on an international level; as they continue to grow, they will begin to focus on international markets. Foreign companies should be viewing IPR protection developments in China with cautious optimism, and most importantly, with a plan for dealing with the repercussions of a China with robust copyright law".
Sunday 21 September 2014
China’s Changing Copyright Attitude
At a time when attitudes towards investing in China veer from the cautious and cynical at one extreme to the ambitious and optimistic at the other, it's always good to hear from people who have some experience of current conditions in that vast and complex market. In this guest post, we feature the view of Michael Laridan, consultant to Shanghai and Beijing-based market research company Daxue Consulting. Michael, focusing mainly on copyright but also touching briefly on other IP rights, raises an issue of particular significance to readers of this blog -- the repatriation of IP-driven earnings from China. Michael writes: