Michael Atkins has some highlights from a presentation given last week on enforcing intellectual property rights in China by Professor Zhang Guangliang at the King County (Washington) Bar Association over on the left coast.
The premise of the talk, and Michael’s post, is — quite reasonably — understanding the best way to go into China and utilize their system. There’s no question the People’s Republic wants to spread the word that it has a system, and that it can work; clearly a charm offensive is under way on just that point.
Is my long-standing skepticism, and that of many others, still justified? I don’t know if there’s any way to tell yet. But a 2010 post from Michael Masnick should remind big IP: Be careful what you wish for! The deference big companies and big law firms get from U.S. courts doesn’t translate so well over there. While, as usual, I wouldn’t track Michael’s thinking word for word in this passage, his point, as usual, is still well taken:
Various studies have shown that greater copyright, patent and trademark protections tend to follow a period of great innovation, when the companies that did that innovation look to protect their position from upstarts elsewhere. In other words, it acts in the exact opposite manner as it’s supposed to. It’s not an incentive to innovate, but a tool used to stop competition and innovation from others. The situation in China is playing out exactly according to that formula. The country is growing into a bigger believer in intellectual property laws — but only for the sake of using it to protect against foreigners — which, we assume, is not what US companies wanted, but which they should have expected if they ever bothered to look at the actual history of stronger intellectual property laws.
Looking at history is not something “companies” or their lawyers tend to do at all. Anyway, I’m sure it’s a great learning experience, on the clock and all — a point Stan Abrams nails here.
UPDATE: Perhaps it is not the intellectual kind of property that is the biggest concern in China right now…