Elgar Intellectual Property and Global Development series
Edited by Irene Calboli and Edward Lee
Chapter 12: The curious case of fake Beijing Olympics merchandise
Counterfeiting is a global challenge ñ a challenge that does not recognize territorial borders. Although the sale of counterfeit goods affects rights holders primarily in domestic markets, the export of these products can harm rights holders and third parties outside those markets. As the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition and the International Chamber of Commerce estimated, the current global trade in illegitimate goods amounted to approximately $600 billion annually ñ based on an estimate of 5ñ7 percent of global trade. Although the figures provided by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development were more modest, they still amounted to $250 billion in 2007. Out of all the countries having substantial exports of counterfeit goods, China is the most notorious. Since reopening its market to foreign trade in the late 1970s, it has been repeatedly criticized for inadequate and ineffective protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights. Every year, the country finds itself in either the Watch List or the Priority Watch List in the Section 301 Report released by the United States Trade Representative (USTR). As the U.S. International Trade Commission estimated in a recent report, ìfirms in the U.S. [intellectual property]-intensive economy that conducted business in China in 2009 reported losses of approximately $48.2 billion in sales, royalties, or license fees due to [intellectual property] infringement in China.î For more than a decade, policymakers and commentators have heavily criticized the Chinese government for lacking the political will to clean up its massive counterfeiting problem.
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