Two Decades of TRIPS in China
CHINA AND THE WTO: A 20-YEAR ASSESSMENT, Henry Gao, Damian Raess and Zeng Ka, eds., Cambridge University Press, pp. 89-108, 2023
18 Pages Posted: 17 Nov 2021 Last revised: 24 Jun 2023
Date Written: November 17, 2021
When China became the 143rd member of the World Trade Organization on December 11, 2001, the country had been heavily criticized for more than a decade for providing inadequate protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights. Fast forward twenty years. China has now become the world's leader in terms of international applications under the Patent Cooperation Treaty. The country also ranked 12th in the 2021 Global Innovation Index. Notwithstanding these rather impressive developments, China remains heavily criticized for its lack of intellectual property protection and enforcement and frequently also for its non-compliance with the TRIPS Agreement.
Written in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of China's accession to the international trading body, this chapter reviews the intellectual property developments in China since the country joined the WTO. It begins by highlighting TRIPS-related developments in the first decade of China's WTO membership. It then discusses the country's "innovative turn" in the mid-2000s and the ramifications of its changing policy positions. The chapter continues to examine the US–China trade war, in particular the second TRIPS complaint that the United States filed against China in March 2018. This chapter concludes with observations about the impact of the TRIPS Agreement on China, China's impact on that agreement and how the changing Chinese intellectual property landscape has altered the developing countries' coalition dynamics within the WTO.
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