Chris Buckley: Patent Pitfalls on China’s Road of Clones

From The International Herald Tribune, via YaleGlobal:

As part of a drive to both improve the rule of law and encourage entrepreneurship, China is seeking to improve its patent regulations. For Chinese inventors, patents both in China and abroad mean increased revenue and access to new markets. Unfortunately, despite the many efforts that Chinese innovators are making to protect their creations against intellectual property theft, the terms of domestic patents remain sufficiently loose as to allow for imitations of copyrighted inventions, which are subsequently exported. China’s weak patent protection system is rooted in both the historical Chinese conception of intellectual property as a common good, and in the government lackadaisical approach to protecting individual innovations. Experts say that the evolution of intellectual property law is unlikely to lead to an American- or European-style system. Perhaps the realization that Chinese firms are suffering as much as their foreign competitors from counterfeiting and toothless patents will be an incentive for the government to strengthen its laws. – YaleGlobal

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