The theft of United States IP in foreign countries requires increased resistance according to Jon Dudas, the presumptive Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Dudas’ speech, given to the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Governmental Affairs, follows a recent address to the U.S. Senate’s Committee on the Judiciary. The speeches highlight an apparent increased government interest in IP enforcement.
While the issue of the misappropriation of U.S. IP is not localized to any one country, Dudas clearly took aim at China, explaining that "despite China’s membership in the WTO and its requirement to comply with the TRIP’s agreement, the lack of effective IP enforcement in China is a major problem for U.S. business interests, costing billions of dollars in lost revenue and tens of thousands of U.S. jobs." "China accounted for 66 percent of the domestic value for all seizures of infringing goods; this is a steady increase from 16 percent in 1999," said Dudas.
Notably, China has fallen victim to its own apparent lack of adequate IP enforcement in several notable cases. "The daughter of China’s former leader, Den Xiaoping, had her biography of her father pirated," and "one of China’s preeminent scholars on intellectual property law … had his textbooks compiled into a pirated version," said Dudas.
The domestic importance of the successful protection of IP rights in China is increasing in significance. "The Chinese Trademark Office received more trademark applications than any country in the world for the past two years," and "the Chinese Patent Office is one of the most rapidly growing patent offices in the world."
Dudas reports positive feedback from recent USPTO training and awareness efforts directed to Chinese officials. However, "while our visits were well received and we were pleased to note a continuing and increasing awareness among Chinese officials of the importance of IP protection and enforcement, we have not yet seen significant progress on most of the key issues we have been urging China to act on for some time," Dudas reported.
Despite the troublesome hurdles in international IP enforcement and the increasing demands on the USPTO to maintain its core patent and trademark examination functions, Dudas pledged that "[the USPTO] will continue to work tirelessly to protect American products in every corner of the globe."
For the full transcription of the statement given to the Committee on Governmental Affairs, visit: http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/com/speeches/2004apr20.htm.
To discuss this topic further, please feel free to contact the author, Chris Guinn (firstname.lastname@example.org), at Thomas, Kayden, Horstemeyer & Risley in Atlanta, Georgia USA.
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