Patents and Intellectual Property Rights: The New York Times
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The New Yorker’s cover story on the patents law last week focused on how the US is trying to “renegotiate” the law to bring it into compliance with WTO rules.
It also revealed that the US Department of Justice, in an effort to prevent China from using patents as a weapon to “bargain” with the US government, is “waging a legal war on the Chinese patent system.”
As part of this “war,” the US has also filed patent lawsuits against China’s largest manufacturer of industrial and medical equipment, Precision Equipment Corporation (PEC).
In a January 20 letter to the US Attorney General, the PECs lawyers wrote: “The Chinese Government has recently introduced new patent provisions that have been designed to target PEC’s manufacturing and distribution operations.
Patent law is one of the few ways that the Chinese Government can ensure that its intellectual property is protected, while at the same time maintaining a strong competitive edge in the global marketplace.”
As we previously reported, the patent lawsuit is one part of a broader effort to undermine China’s ability to use its patent system to make the world’s most advanced equipment.
The New York Attorney General has now filed a suit against the US for “preventing PEC from using its patents to engage in patent infringement.”
The DOJ has also launched a civil antitrust lawsuit against China over its use of patents as “a weapon to bargain” with US companies.
Patent reformThe DOJ also filed a lawsuit against Chinese President Xi Jinping for “repeatingly abusing” China’s patent laws.
Xi has claimed that his country has the right to “protect the interests of the people” and to “create new products and technologies” for “the benefit of the nation.”
He has also claimed that “patents are not a tool for competition, but are an instrument of protection.”
According to the DOJ, Xi “repeatedly abused” China�s patent law, claiming that it does not allow the Chinese government to regulate “the patent process, nor to enforce its laws and regulations on the market.”
The DOJ’s lawsuit also states that “China has repeatedly used its patents as leverage to prevent PEC and other foreign companies from engaging in innovation or development of new products or technologies that are designed to be competitive with or more efficient than its own products and services.”
It continues, “Chinese government officials have claimed that patents are a tool of protection and that they are not ‘weapons’ to be used to “piggyback” on the US.”
The US lawsuit seeks to “allow foreign companies to obtain patented inventions that are not the products of PEC or its employees, to use them to build a monopoly on Chinese patents.”
China is currently “unprepared” to implement these reforms, and is “failing to comply with its obligations under the WTO, WTO-U.S. trade agreements, and other international agreements.”
The US lawsuit also seeks a declaration that the DOJ and the US “exercised all remedies available to us under the US law, including injunctions, injunctive relief, and a prohibition against the use of the courts to prevent foreign competitors from infringing on patented inventions.”
China’s patent reformThe US government is not the only government agency pursuing this lawsuit.
China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIT) also filed an antitrust lawsuit with the DOJ last month to stop PEC, a Chinese firm that is currently the largest supplier of industrial robots to US firms.MOT claims that PEC “exceeds its legal obligations under Chinese laws to protect the intellectual property rights of the Chinese public,” and is using patents to “threaten the sovereignty and security of China.”
The Chinese government has also alleged that PEEV has “engaged in aggressive litigation tactics, using anticompetitive conduct to obtain patents and to threaten the intellectual rights of its own employees.”PEC also says that the lawsuit “is designed to undermine Chinese innovation and development efforts, while simultaneously undermining China’s economic competitiveness and competitive advantage.”
This lawsuit is a further indication of how the Trump administration is pursuing a policy of patent reform in China.
The US has long argued that China is not “efficient” at developing and manufacturing advanced technologies.
But in an article published in December, former US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce Thomas G. Burns argued that the country�s “tens of billions of dollars” of investment in research and development, the manufacture of advanced technology, and “the manufacturing of a range of consumer goods” is “necessary for the United States to have a competitive edge.”
The lawsuit against PEC is just the latest in a series of lawsuits the Trump Administration has filed against Chinese companies, and US companies that work with them, over patent reform.
As we reported last month, the administration has filed lawsuits against companies that make electronic components, including Chinese smartphone makers Huawei and ZTE.
The Trump Administration also sued Apple and Microsoft over patents that are being
The New Yorker’s cover story on the patents law last week focused on how the US is trying to “renegotiate”…