Friday, March 24, 2006

Automotive Industry in China: Using Old Technology Unsustainable To Protect Proprietary Technology

BusinessWeek published a story of Maria Bissinger, Yang Wang and Tatiana Kordyukova , analysts for Standard and Poor’s about emerging markets, such as China, beckoning the automotive industry. Here are the relevant IPR passages:

A further risk factor associated with investing in China is the legal uncertainty, including the chance of intellectual property violation. Several examples illustrate how difficult it is to protect proprietary technology, design, and trademarks in this legal environment. Take Toyota, which went to court over the wrongful use of its logo, but eventually lost the case. Honda has also been involved in lawsuits against two domestic motorcycle companies over trademark violations.

The problem is even more pronounced for spare parts, the technology and design of which are harder to protect. VW, for example, is reported to have discovered that local suppliers copied parts used at SAIC’s then affiliate Chery Automotive. A strategy that was popular among foreign auto manufacturers in the early days of investing in China—using old technology and offering models from the previous season to protect proprietary technology—is now considered impossible to sustain, as a result of increasing competitive pressures.

In this article SAIC stands for the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp and is not to be confused with the State Administration for Industry and Commerce.

Read more here.

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