Still Dissatisfied after All These Years: Intellectual Property, Post-WTO China, and the Avoidable Cycle of Futility
17 Pages Posted: 20 Sep 2005 Last revised: 8 May 2023
Commentators have widely discussed the piracy and counterfeiting problems in China. Every year, the United States is estimated to lose billions of dollars due to piracy and counterfeiting in China alone. Published as part of the "U.S.-China Trade: Opportunities and Challenges" Symposium, this essay focuses on the recent debate about whether the U.S. administration should file a formal complaint against China with the WTO Dispute Settlement Body over inadequate enforcement of intellectual property rights.
The essay begins by explaining why the administration should not do so. It then discusses the consequences of filing such a complaint. It contends that such action is likely to result in a new “cycle of futility,” similar to the cycles created by the American intellectual property policy toward China in the 1980s and early 1990s. To avoid these cycles, the essay highlights four remedial areas on which the administration and the business community should focus. It concludes with three observations that provide insight into the piracy and counterfeiting problems in China and the difficulty in alleviating those problems.
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