29 April 2019

China defends IP protection amid US trade talks

Chinese officials have hit back at criticism of the country’s IP protection regime ahead of concluding trade negotiations with the US.

US Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer is set to travel to Beijing tomorrow, April 30, along with treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin for another round of trade negotiations that have been shrouded in controversy over US allegations of Chinese IP violations.

At a press conference held yesterday, Shen Changyu, head of China’s National Intellectual Property Administration (NIPA), said that international criticism of the country’s IP protection “lacked evidence”, Reuters  reported.

While China had “some problems”, Shen defended his country’s record on IP protection. “IP infringement is a global problem that exists in every country,” he said.

According to the state news media outlet  Xinhua, Chinese authorities handled “around 77,000 cases on patents” last year, an increase of 15.9% from 2017.

Yet concerns remain in the US as the two governments look to finalise a new trade deal.  Last week, the USTR named China on a “priority watch list” of countries which have failed to adequately protect IP.

Among the issues highlighted ncluded China’s efforts to contain the proliferation of counterfeit goods on e-commerce platforms.

“As China has become the largest e-commerce market in the world, widespread online piracy and counterfeiting in e-commerce markets represent critical concerns for US right holders”, the USTR  said.

Shen, however, cited 31,000 trademark violations “dealt with” by the Chinese authorities last year, worth a total $81.2 million.

Chinese vice premier Lie Hue will travel to Washington, DC next month to continue negotiations. According to Reuters, US president Trump has indicated that his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping will be hosted at the White House, although no date has been set for a meeting.

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More on this story

16 January 2020   China and the US have signed the first phase of a deal aimed at bringing an end to a trade war fuelled partly by concerns over IP theft and technology transfer.
20 July 2020   Shanghai police have uncovered counterfeit goods valued at more then than 1.7bn yuan (US$242m), and exposed 240 criminal counterfeiting dens this year during a major crackdown on IP violations in the country.
28 January 2021   A Republican senator has introduced legislation intended to prevent Chinese companies that refuse to pay patent-related fees for the use of mobile technologies from selling their products in the US.