Development Agendas in a Changing World
Elgar Intellectual Property and Global Development series
Edited by Ricardo Meléndez-Ortiz and Pedro Roffe
Chapter 3: Intellectual Property Reforms in China
Peter K. Yu1 INTRODUCTION In the past two decades, China has been heavily criticized for its inadequate protection of intellectual property rights. Every year, US industries are estimated to have lost billions of dollars due to piracy and counterfeiting in the country. As the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) stated in its recent Special 301 Report, copyright piracy in China resulted in US$ 3.5 billion of US trade losses in 2008 alone (IIPA, 2009). Of particular concern is the considerable quantity of infringing products that have been exported to other foreign markets. To protect its industries, the United States recently requested the Dispute Settlement Body of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to establish a panel to determine whether China has failed to comply with the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement).2 The panel report, however, yielded only mixed results. Although China was fittingly criticized for its piracy and counterfeiting problems, it is important to recognize and appreciate the considerable amount of intellectual property reforms the country has undertaken in the past two decades. Since the reopening of its market to foreign trade in the late 1970s, China introduced its first modern copyright, patent, and trademark laws (IIPA, 2007). A decade later, China revamped its intellectual property system in response to US pressure and did so again in preparation for its accession to the WTO (Yu, 2000; 2006a). Today, China is a proud member of many multilateral intellectual property agreements, including the Berne Convention, Geneva Convention,...
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