The U.S. keeps running in circles when it comes to piracy and IP theft in China

Posted by scapozzola on 04/12/2012

At a business roundtable in Beijing today, U.S. officials cited high rates of piracy and intellectual property theft in China, which are cutting into profits for U.S. companies.  The Chinese government has promised to crack down on Internet and software piracy, but U.S. officials have asked for greater cooperation from China when it comes to intellectual-property agencies in other countries as well as more consistent enforcement.

"China's IP system still makes it difficult for both foreign and Chinese companies to compete on a level playing field," U.S. ambassador to China Gary Locke said at the roundtable meeting, which was intended to focus on intellectual property protection in China.

Ironically, Chinese officials at the event asked critics to be "objective" and to recognize the differences between the U.S. and China. Essentially excusing the lawlessness that allows for such frequent piracy, Chong Quan, assistant minister at China's Commerce Ministry, said, "China and the U.S. have different cultural and historical traditions. We are in different stages of economic development."

The roundtable came amidst new intellectual property battles between the U.S. and China.  Apple Inc. is suing in a Chinese court over the Chinese rights to the iPad trademark, and retired NBA player Michael Jordan has sued Chinese sportswear chain Qiaodan Sports Co., saying the company improperly used the Chinese version of his name to sell its products.

It remains to be seen whether progress will be made in China toward cracking down on piracy and intellectual property theft, or whether U.S. officials will simply keep running in circles around a "roundtable."

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