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Protecting Your Intellectual Property in China


Written by Gene Quinn
Patent Attorney & Founder of IPWatchdog
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Posted: Mar 28, 2011 @ 7:46 pm
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PTO Headquarters, Alexandria, VA, the next stop on the China Road Show tour.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office is hosting a free two-day seminar titled: “China’s Impact on Intellectual Property: Protecting Your Intellectual Property in China and the Global Marketplace.”   The seminar will be conducted April 6 – 7, 2011, at the USPTO Headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia, and is a part of the USPTO China Road Show series.  The China Road Show is a series of two-day China IP events that the USPTO is hosting across the country to help educate businesses about the realities of piracy and counterfeiting—which cost the American economy approximately $250 billion annually.

During the two-day seminar intellectual property experts from the private sector in the U.S. and China, as well as experts from the United States Government, will provide comprehensive information on protecting and enforcing intellectual property rights in China.  The program will include presentations on protecting and enforcing trademarks and patents in China, case studies illustrating these principles in practice, and real world stories and practical tips from companies on the front-line of IP rights protection and enforcement in China.  The program also will feature a presentation on global intellectual property strategy for the small business.

The program is for any company that wants to learn about protecting its products from counterfeiting and piracy, whether the company is contemplating entering the China market, has an established presence in China, or even has no intention of selling or manufacturing its products in China.  China continues to be the number one source of counterfeit products seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection in 2010, accounting for 61% of all seizures.

One of the highlights of the two-day seminar will be the presentation by Mr. Chen Fuli, who is the Intellectual Property Rights Attache at the United States Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, who will speak about what he perceives U.S. businesses to be doing right, and what U.S. businesses are doing wrong, relative to their business and IP dealings in China.

Day 1 is largely devoted to understanding the patent, trademark and copyright laws in China, as well as enforcement of those rights.  Day 2 of the seminar will address § 337 Infringement Investigations by the International Trade Commission (ITC), the challenges presented by counterfeiting and piracy on the Internet and the development of global IP strategies even for small businesses.  For more information see —> the full agenda.

The two USPTO Officials who, based on the agenda, seem to be in charge of this stop for the China Roadshow are Susan Anthony and Scott Baldwin, both attorneys in the USPTO Office of Policy and External Affairs.  Susan will begin Day 1 and Scott will begin Day 2.  I had the opportunity to see the team of Anthony and Baldwin in action in October during the annual Trademark Expo hosted at the USPTO campus.  They did a tag-team presentation on counterfeit goods, how to spot them, where they come from and the damage that they do in terms of health and safety, as well as in terms of economic lost opportunity.

Being rather knowledgeable on the issues I thought I would just attend and report, but I found myself learning quite a bit.  Then at the end of the presentation they engaged the audience by trying to get everyone to think like a counterfeiter — what products are most likely to be counterfeited and why, where would you sell, where would you manufacture and more. It was a clever way to turn an educational presentation into an interactive, thought-provoking exercise that reinforced the message.  As it turns out, counterfeiting is a business and if you think about it in business terms it is easy to understand why it is so attractive to the criminal element who doesn’t feel restricted by the law.  So what that means, at least to me, is that everyone with a business needs to take a proactive role in protecting their own business.

In any event, the USPTO has some truly wonderful events, some of which are free and some of which have a modest fee to attend.  Regardless of whether the event is free or a small fee is charged the events hosted by the USPTO are first rate and they offer excellent networking opportunities with those from the USPTO and industry experts.  Where else are you going to be able to interface with substantive experts from within the government and in the private sector?  If you have questions about China and beyond you really should seriously consider attending this seminar.  The price is certainly right, and I’m convinced that even if you have to fly into town and get a hotel room you will walk away with far more than you paid.

The seminar is free and open to all, but registration is required to attend. To register visit:  http://events.SignUp4.com/ChinaRoadShowAlexandria


About the Author

is a US Patent Attorney, law professor and the founder of IPWatchdog.com. He is also a principal lecturer in the top patent bar review course in the nation, which helps aspiring patent attorneys and patent agents prepare themselves to pass the patent bar exam. Gene started the widely popular intellectual property website IPWatchdog.com in 1999, and since that time the site has had many millions of unique visitors. Gene has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the LA Times, USA Today, CNN Money, NPR and various other newspapers and magazines worldwide. He represents individuals, small businesses and start-up corporations. As an electrical engineer with a computer engineering focus his specialty is electronic and computer devices, Internet applications, software and business methods.

5 comments
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  1. Gene, do you have a source for the $ 250 billion in supposed annual losses to the American economy? I keep seeing that figure, unchanged for years now, but nobody ever seems to be able to attribute it properly.

  2. Gene,

    The GAO published a report in 2010 regarding “Observations on the Efforts Quantify the Economic Effects of Counterfeit and Pirated Goods” available here: http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d10423.pdf .

    One of the unfounded (?) numbers is the $250 billion annually which there does not seem to be any data to back it up.

    Regards,

    Kirsten

  3. Kirsten-

    The GAO report you provides says this right on the first page:

    ” Generally, the illicit nature of counterfeiting and piracy makes estimating the economic impact of IP infringements extremely difficult, so
    assumptions must be used to offset the lack of data. Efforts to estimate losses involve assumptions such as the rate at which consumers would substitute counterfeit for legitimate products, which can have enormous impacts on the resulting estimates. Because of the significant differences in types of counterfeited and pirated goods and industries involved, no single method can be used to develop estimates. Each method has limitations, and most experts observed that it is difficult, if not impossible, to quantify the economy-wide impacts. Nonetheless, research in specific industries suggest that the problem is sizeable, which is of particular concern as many U.S. industries are leaders in the creation of intellectual property.”

    It sounds to me like the GAO is saying that given the illicit nature of counterfeiting there can only be estimates and arriving at estimates is difficult and varies. The report clearly says it is a sizeable problem.

    I also think it is incorrect to say there is not any data to back up the $250 billion annual figure. There is plenty of data and plenty of estimates that are well explained. You can disagree with those estimates and try and pick apart the reports and studies, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. For example, see:

    http://ipwatchdog.com/2010/08/30/counterfeiting-costs-us-businesses/id=12336/

    -Gene

  4. IP3456-

    I wrote an article explaining this at:

    http://ipwatchdog.com/2010/08/30/counterfeiting-costs-us-businesses/id=12336/

    The Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development uses a $200 billion per year number based on 2005 data, the NY Times has used that number and the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition Inc. (non-profit industry group) uses $200 to $250 billion. The $250 billion figure I used for this particular article comes from the USPTO.

    -Gene

  5. This sounds like a very interesting and, of course, timely seminar. Maybe after the USPTO opens its three satellite (one, hopefully, close to me) offices, then I’ll be able to attend some of its events.
    http://www.genengnews.com/gen-articles/watson-the-pto-needs-you/3611/