Sunday 15 July 2012

Blowback from IP Imperialism

TechDirt warns us about the dangers of patents and how China is using them to harm foreign competitors:

For many years, US companies and government officials complained publicly and privately that China just didn't "respect" patents. They would point to how various Chinese companies were famous for making knockoffs of various products as evidence of this, and they'd put strong diplomatic pressure on China to both "respect" foreign patents more and beef up its own patent system. Of course, for years, we've been warning about just how stupid this is. China recognizes that patents are really a protectionist tool, and is using them as such. It has certainly increased its patenting effort... but nearly every single major patent lawsuit in China has been about punishing foreign companies and blocking competition to domestic Chinese companies.

Chinese companies and politicians must be laughing at just how self-defeating the Americans and Europeans are. Despite it being obvious that patents harm the economy, American companies and politicians will still continue to insist that China needs to "strengthen" its patent system and EU Commissioners like Karel De Gucht continues to promote ACTA. If ACTA (the so called Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) would come into play, Chinese companies would be able to enforce their patents in the US, Canada and the EU, harming even more companies.

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