Managing the Legal Nexus Between Intellectual Property and Employees
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Managing the Legal Nexus Between Intellectual Property and Employees

Domestic and Global Contexts

Edited by Lynda J. Oswald and Marisa Anne Pagnattaro

The explosion in intellectual capital coincides with a growing understanding of the importance of human capital to the firm. This book examines the pressing legal issues that arise at the intersections of intellectual property law, employment law, and global trade, such as the use of employment contracts to protect intellectual property, ownership of intellectual property created by the employee, officer liability issues relating to infringement, post-employment confidentiality and non-compete agreements, and inadvertent or deliberate misappropriation or theft of trade secrets.
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Chapter 10: Political, economic, and public policy constraints on the use of human resource practices to protect intellectual property in China and the United States

Christine M. Westphal


Firms doing business in China have had serious concerns about the protection of intellectual property in China from the beginning of the 1990s when China first began its rapid economic expansion by focusing on attracting direct foreign investment. Initially concerns were limited to the Chinese practice of illegally reproducing copyrighted material such as movies and software. As companies began manufacturing consumer goods in China, firms were threatened by a proliferation of counterfeit goods that misappropriated trademarks, design patents, and trade dress. China’s acceptance into the WTO brought with it promises that China would put more uniform and standardized protections for intellectual property in place but, as the Chinese economy evolved, the threats to intellectual property have become more complex. Companies and, in some instances, whole industries are being threatened by Chinese competitors who appear to have appropriated or misappropriated patented information, trade secrets, and confidential business methods and practices. In some instances, it appears that the Chinese government is working in tandem with both state-owned and privately-held companies to provide competitive advantage and political protection to Chinese firms as they compete with Western firms in the global marketplace. It also appears that the Chinese government may be intervening in the global marketplace in order to further its public policy objectives. It should be understood that for the Chinese government the policy objectives go beyond simply supporting the expansion and local control of industries within China.

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