Friday, August 25, 2006

More IPR Litigation in China Is Nice, But What Is the Enforcement Ratio?

Tim Johnson, wrote an interesting article about IPR litigation that percentage wise is almost an all-Chinese affaire. Head tip to: China Business Services (a business consultancy in Beijing, Shanghai and London).

Johnson has covered the travails of Foshan Rifeng and interviewed J. Benjamin Bai of Jones Day and Steven M. Dickenson of Harris & Moure and China Law Blog, read here

Bai was pretty optimistic about the growth in the number of litigations. However, I think these statistics should be approached cautiously. A higher number of IP infringement cases in court could mean a lot of things:

Because the growth of two absolute numbers is expressed as a relative one, this does not give the relation toward the total amount of infringements.

I propose using an enforcement ratio: total number of litigations in a country divided by the number of infringements in a country. This way you could really tell if the IPR enforcement was going in the right direction.

With the absolute numbers they use now, if the number of litigations in China has risen considerably, maybe the total number of infringements in China has increased even more. That means that the enforcement ratio decreased. Not good.
And if the number of litigations in China has decreased, it could mean that the enforcement is going into the right direction, in case of an decreased total number of infringements in China. Good.

Now, of course the challenge is getting realistic statistics for the total number of infringements in China. This could be solved by an aggregated estimate of all seizures at international customs offices. And the good thing is that the absolute number of total infringements is only important as a benchmark.

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