China and Intellectual Property Rights: A Challenge to the Rule of Law

14 Pages Posted: 27 Jul 2018

See all articles by James Brander

James Brander

University of British Columbia (UBC) - Sauder School of Business

Victor Cui

University of Manitoba - Asper School of Business; Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia

Ilan Vertinsky

University of British Columbia (UBC) - Sauder School of Business; University of British Columbia (UBC) - Institute of Asian Research

Date Written: July 2017

Abstract

China is not meeting its international obligations to protect intellectual property rights (IPRs), harming the innovation process in China and elsewhere. We review the benefits of IPR protection and discuss the magnitude and cost of China’s IPR violations. We also emphasize that these violations undermine the international rule of law and impair China’s legitimacy as a leader in evolving global governance institutions. We criticize the argument that China will endogenously improve IPR protection due to internal pressures from its domestic IP sector as the United States and some other countries did in the past. China’s governance institutions are very different from those of the liberal Western democracies, past and present, as China has a weak internal rule of law, a fragmented governance system, and cultural traditions that favor collective over individual rights. As China’s IP sector develops, its IPR governance regime might even be used as a strategic tool to further disadvantage foreign IPR holders. We argue that China should play a lead role in any international IPR reforms but that it must first establish legitimacy by meeting its current international IPR commitments. We conclude that other countries should take action to pressure China to meet its IPR obligations.

Keywords: intellectual property rights, innovation, rule of law, China

Suggested Citation

Brander, James and Cui, Victor and Vertinsky, Ilan, China and Intellectual Property Rights: A Challenge to the Rule of Law (July 2017). Journal of International Business Studies, Vol. 48, Issue 7, 2017, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3219038 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/s41267-017-0087-7

James Brander (Contact Author)

University of British Columbia (UBC) - Sauder School of Business

2053 Main Mall
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z2
Canada

Victor Cui

University of Manitoba - Asper School of Business ( email )

181 Freedman Crescent
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3T 5V4
Canada

Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia ( email )

2053 Main Mall
Vancouver, British Columbia BC V6T 1Z2
Canada

Ilan Vertinsky

University of British Columbia (UBC) - Sauder School of Business ( email )

2053 Main Mall
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z2
Canada

University of British Columbia (UBC) - Institute of Asian Research ( email )

251-1855 West Mall
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z2
Canada

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