Copyright Violations Stifle China's Own Development, U.S. Official Warns

Head of U.S. Patent office says China will end up with second-class technology.

Countries such as China will not be able to develop higher-tech economies until adequate protections are in place for intellectual property, a top U.S. copyright official warned March 28. "A nation that does not give the highest protections for intellectual property... will consistently be a source of only second-class technology. No one will want to bring their technology to a nation that doesn't protect it," said Jon Dudas, director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Dudas was reacting to a suggestion by a Chinese Cabinet member a day earlier that developed countries must be patient with intellectual property rights (IPR) violations in countries like China since developed countries hold most key technology patents.

Dudas, who is also undersecretary of commerce for intellectual property, is in Beijing for a global IPR forum and separate discussions with Chinese officials on strengthening protections.Rampant IPR violations are a major source of friction in bilateral trade ties and Washington has pressured China to do more to combat them. Dudas praised what he called China's growing recognition of the problem and its "broader, deeper" recent cooperation with the U.S. on the issue. But he said Beijing needs to do more, such as lowering punishment thresholds as part of a push to create a stronger system of deterrents.

Despite increased efforts by China, 81% of the counterfeit products seized at U.S. borders originate in China, Dudas said.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007

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