Wednesday, April 22, 2009

"China Will Reshape International Intellectual Property Policy"

I just read a great paper by Andrea Wechsler 'Intellectual Property Law in the P.R. China: A powerful Economic Tool for Innovation and Development', Max Planck Institute for Intellectual Property, Competition & Tax Law Research Paper No. 09-02, November 12, 2008, download at SSRN here.

In 56 pages Ms Wechsler takes you on a journey to see the changing purposes in and rationales for international IP protection, the political economy of IP protection and the Chinese approach to IP policy in the light of international IP law developments.

The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPs) is an integral part of the World Trade Organization (WTO)'s Agreement. Therefore this treaty (TRIPs) is a hybrid form which for most countries decreases the manoeuvring space in the field of IP protection policy. That China is an exception in this case Ms Wechsler writes on page 18: "The case of China thus demonstrates that – due to China’s sheer size but also due to its growing economic and political importance – China is to some extent defying the limitation of policy space in the field of IP protection through integration of this area into international trade policy."

Ms Wechsler shows how the Chinese government has changed its perception of intellectual property from a Fremdkörper that was transplanted in China from abroad, to uneasiness about the foreign pressure to reform its IP system in order for it to enter WTO, to China's autonomous realisation that IP protection is crucial to foster innovation and development, as evidenced by China's third amendment to its patent law (effective October 1, 2009). China is gradually opting for more country and industry specific intellectual property rights. Ms Wechsler writes: "it was argued that recent policy shifts in Chinese IP policy are to be considered as the first omens of the Chinese emergence as potent forces in reshaping the global intellectual property landscape according to their own political, economic, and social interests."

Read Ms Wechsler here.

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