Monday, January 30, 2006

When will rampant piracy in China stop? Mark Cohen: "Don't know." Bill Gates: "2016"

Mark Cohen, the intellectual property lawyer dispatched to China in 2004 to protect U.S. IP rightholders against piracy. Cohen is officially on assignment from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Cohen: "The question is not, is there law. It's what law is being enforced and where." The problem, say attorneys and industry executives, is as much one of infrastructure as of experience. Improving China's enforcement of its IPR laws requires substantial changes to its legal system."

"Part of the difficulty in enforcement rests in overall problems with China's legal system, as well as the Chinese Government's desire to ensure that the economy is stable, particularly in the countryside. If courts are corrupt, or government officials accept bribes, or if local courts or administrative officials tend to rule in favour of local interests, without any corresponding checks and balances, then the IPR system will necessarily be compromised," Cohen told Managing Intellectual Property.

Read more here.

The Financial Times features a profile of Cohen here (paid subscribtion). Cohen may be specialist in IP in China but when asked when the compliance in China will be up to US and European levels, he said he didn't know. Bill Gates, however, thinks it will end in a decade.

Read more here.

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