Intellectual Property Rights in China

After ignoring Western complaints about massive intellectual property violations for years, local government officials in both Shanghai and Beijing have announced the closure of popular markets well—known for selling fake products. While foreign brands continue lose millions of dollars in potential revenue in the Middle Kingdom, small signs of progress are being made.

Coming just days after Starbucks won a legal battle against over trademarks against a Shanghai copycat, local government officials announced they are planning to close the famed Xiangyang Market, which an estimated 50,000 people, including thousands of foreign tourists, visit every day.

Shanghai's Vice—Mayor Zhou Taitong said the market would be closed after the failure of repeated crackdowns on sales of fake products.  In the local media, Mr. Zhou said Xiangyang had tainted the city's image and about 80 per cent of Shanghai's piracy cases originated from the market.

Meanwhile, in the nation's capital, which is nervously preparing to host the Summer Olympics in 2008, local authorities demolished the city's notorious Silk Market to make way for a new shopping mall. Vendors who worked at the former market are now suing a district government for compensation.

And more importantly, Chanel, Prada and three other luxury goods companies have won China's first copyright verdict against Silk Market shopping mall landlord, their lawyer reportedly said to The International Herald Tribune.

With the Olympics coming to China, Communist party officials want to create the impression that it is a responsible member of the international business community that follows global norms. 

While much more needs to be done, foreigners should realize some that Chinese, including a top Supreme Court Justice in Beijing, take intellectual property issues very seriously.  

As an American teacher of business in both Shanghai and Beijing during the past five years, I will admit to have purchased my share of clothing and DVDs at both Xiangyang and Silk Street.

Not just limited to China, this is a global challenge. Theft has always been part of the human condition. Regrettably, intellectual piracy is a problem that will never be completely solved.  

Brian Schwarz    1 08 06

After ignoring Western complaints about massive intellectual property violations for years, local government officials in both Shanghai and Beijing have announced the closure of popular markets well—known for selling fake products. While foreign brands continue lose millions of dollars in potential revenue in the Middle Kingdom, small signs of progress are being made.

Coming just days after Starbucks won a legal battle against over trademarks against a Shanghai copycat, local government officials announced they are planning to close the famed Xiangyang Market, which an estimated 50,000 people, including thousands of foreign tourists, visit every day.

Shanghai's Vice—Mayor Zhou Taitong said the market would be closed after the failure of repeated crackdowns on sales of fake products.  In the local media, Mr. Zhou said Xiangyang had tainted the city's image and about 80 per cent of Shanghai's piracy cases originated from the market.

Meanwhile, in the nation's capital, which is nervously preparing to host the Summer Olympics in 2008, local authorities demolished the city's notorious Silk Market to make way for a new shopping mall. Vendors who worked at the former market are now suing a district government for compensation.

And more importantly, Chanel, Prada and three other luxury goods companies have won China's first copyright verdict against Silk Market shopping mall landlord, their lawyer reportedly said to The International Herald Tribune.

With the Olympics coming to China, Communist party officials want to create the impression that it is a responsible member of the international business community that follows global norms. 

While much more needs to be done, foreigners should realize some that Chinese, including a top Supreme Court Justice in Beijing, take intellectual property issues very seriously.  

As an American teacher of business in both Shanghai and Beijing during the past five years, I will admit to have purchased my share of clothing and DVDs at both Xiangyang and Silk Street.

Not just limited to China, this is a global challenge. Theft has always been part of the human condition. Regrettably, intellectual piracy is a problem that will never be completely solved.  

Brian Schwarz    1 08 06