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Intellectual Property: U.S. claims victory in WTO complaint on China piracy, China vows copyright cooperation

The United States claimed victory recently in a groundbreaking World Trade Organization case against China for failing to protect and enforce copyrights and trademarks on a wide range of goods. ‘Today, a WTO panel found that a number of deficiencies in China’s IPR (Intellectual Property Rights) regime are incompatible with its WTO obligations,’ acting U.S. Trade Representative Peter Allgeier said in a statement. The International Intellectual Property Alliance, a coalition of U.S. music, movie, book and software industry groups, conservatively estimates that piracy in China costs them more than $3.7 billion in lost sales. The WTO ruling means China and other nations ‘can’t simply go through the motions’ of protecting intellectual property, but must provide effective results, Neil Turkewitiz, an executive vice president at the Recording Industry Association of America, said in a statement…

The United States claimed victory recently in a groundbreaking World Trade Organization case against China for failing to protect and enforce copyrights and trademarks on a wide range of goods.

“Today, a WTO panel found that a number of deficiencies in China’s IPR (Intellectual Property Rights) regime are incompatible with its WTO obligations,” acting U.S. Trade Representative Peter Allgeier said in a statement. “We will engage vigorously with China on appropriate corrective actions to ensure that U.S. rights holders obtain the benefits of this decision.”

Washington launched the dispute in 2007 out of frustration at rip-offs of films, branded goods and other trademarked property openly available in Chinese cities.

The International Intellectual Property Alliance, a coalition of U.S. music, movie, book and software industry groups, conservatively estimates that piracy in China costs them more than $3.7 billion in lost sales.

The WTO ruling means China and other nations “can’t simply go through the motions” of protecting intellectual property, but must provide effective results, Neil Turkewitiz, an executive vice president at the Recording Industry Association of America, said in a statement.

The United States persuaded the dispute settlement panel that China violated WTO rules by barring copyright protection for movies, music and books that have not been approved by state censors for legitimate sale, Allgeier said.

“China restricts access to many legitimate titles, but that doesn’t stop the pirated distribution of virtually all U.S. films in China,” Dan Glickman, president of the Motion Picture Association of America, said in a statement.

The United States failed to persuade the WTO panel on one main point of its case: that Chinese copyright pirates and counterfeiters have no fear of criminal prosecution because the government’s threshold for bringing a case is too high.

That was “disappointing,” but the panel established a market-based analytical approach that should help WTO members avoid or resolve future disputes over obstacles to criminal enforcement of counterfeiting and piracy.

Both the United States and China can appeal the panel ruling, the results of which emerged when a confidential preliminary report was released in October.

By Itamar Medeiros

Originally from Brazil, Itamar Medeiros currently lives in Germany, where he works as Lead Product Design Strategist at SAP and promotes User Experience Design as visiting lecturer at Köln International School of Design. Working in the Information Technology industry since 1998, Itamar Medeiros has helped truly global companies in several countries (Argentina, Brazil, China, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Mexico, The Netherlands, Poland, United Arab Emirates, United States) create great user experience through advocating Design and Innovation principles. During his 7 years in China, he championed the User Experience Design discipline as User Experience Manager at Autodesk and Local Coordinator of the Interaction Design Association (IxDA) in Shanghai

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