Category Archives: Intellectual Property

China’s Innovation Fetish

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Merry Christmas everyone! This is one of my favorite “holidays.” I put that in quotes because I always work on the 25th, so it is technically not a holiday for me. However, I love it when things slow down and I can catch up on all the work that has piled up over the past…

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Burberry – China’s Latest Trademark Victim?

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You might have read headlines saying that Burberry had lost its trademark rights in China. Not quite. Yes, it is embroiled in a complicated, but familiar, trademark dispute with a competitor, but it’s a bit early to close the book on this one. The backstory here is that Burberry has been fighting with a Taiwanese…

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Whacking the Windmill: Sinovel Indicted, Next Stop U.S. Federal Court

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If you’re an environmentalist and into renewable energy, you might want to sit out this discussion about IP theft allegedly perpetrated by China’s wind turbine behemoth Sinovel. This story hits on some familiar themes, including misappropriation of U.S. IP by a Chinese company, tough competition in the clean energy sector, and even our old friend…

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Lessons in US-China Diplomacy: Parsing the Special 301 Report

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The annual Special 301 Report on worldwide intellectual property protection was recently released by the U.S. Trade Representative’s office. I always look forward to this, not only to see what the China section looks like to catch up on big-picture IP issues, but also to get a snapshot of the bilateral situation between the two…

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PRC Official: IPR Reputation a Result of “Groundless Labeling”

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Um, wow, not sure where to start with this one. Look, I think you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who has consistently written for as long as I have that China’s IP situation is improving, that it isn’t as bad as most folks think, and that the stereotypes are generally unfair. But I also temper…

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Michael Jordan Reputation Rights Case Begins in Shanghai

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Normally I wouldn’t bother you with the news that a case I have already discussed many times has kicked off. No real news to report here, at least not yet. However, after reading the coverage in Xinhua, I just felt obligated to pass along this little treasure from the alleged infringer’s crack legal team: The defendants…

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If China IP Had an Album Cover, This Would be the Artwork

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If I told you to think about intellectual property enforcement in China and asked you what was the first image that popped into your head, I’m betting it would look something like this (courtesy of China Daily): Nothing is more iconic than the old steamroller picture. It’s also a great symbol of the statistics-driven way…

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Michael Jordan’s China Lawsuit Takes a Sad Turn

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You may recall that Michael Jordan sued a Chinese sportswear company in 2012, claiming that they infringed upon Jordan’s Chinese name and several logos that were similar to those used by Jordan or his sponsors. The case was filed in Shanghai and basically has just sat there for many, many moons (I assume pending settlement…

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Siri Litigation Still Alive in Shanghai, But for How Long?

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I dimly recall talking about this case last year, I believe shortly after the iPad dispute was resolved. I’m too exhausted to poke around in the China Hearsay file room to find my previous post, but I assume I said something like “It’s too early to tell what’s going to happen, and we would need…

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China Piracy and the “Like It? Buy It!” Model

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One of the many IP topics we’ve discussed on this blog concerns the varying strategies employed by owners to combat piracy by changing the behavior of consumers. Many years ago, if you recall, everyone was talking about Microsoft’s China pricing strategy and whether its sky-high retail price for Windows was driving Chinese users into the…

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Clearing the China Air: Technology and Protectionism

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My posts have been few and far between these days for a variety of reasons (other commitments, paucity of real news, smog-induced crushing depression), but today’s weather requires some words in response, and thinking about smog has led me back to familiar themes about technology transfer, local protection and industrial policy. If you’re picking up…

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Bloomberg Terminal Design Case Ends With Settlement

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You might remember the post I wrote on this infringement case back in July. Check that one out for photos of the products in question. If you’ve ever seen or worked with a Bloomberg data terminal, that’s what was at issue in this case, with Bloomberg claiming that the Shanghai company, Da Zhi Hui (aka…

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Someone Gets It Right on the Chinese Copycat Building Issue

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Copying building designs, monuments, statues, even entire towns? Yeah, that happens over here in China on a fairly regular basis. The most recent case that received widespread attention involved London-based architect Zaha Hadid and a project that may not even be completed before the copycat Beijing version is finished. A few weeks ago, Jack Carlson,…

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The Economist Pops the China Patent Bubble

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The Economist turns a skeptical eye towards China’s patent filing statistics for 2011 in a brief article entitled “How Innovative is China?” The article is mostly about valuation, but I’d rather talk about the first part, which deals with registration statistics. No big surprises here for anyone who keeps up on IP registration trends, but…

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Piss-poor Media Coverage of Malicious Trademark Registration Rules

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Apologies for a long, cranky post during the holidays, but this topic deserves some attention. As you know, I’ve been writing about trademark squatting and other registration issues for a long time, and the subject has been particularly hot in the past couple of years with disputes involving famous brands and names like iPad, Hermes,…

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USTR Notorious Markets List: Congratulations to Taobao and Sogou

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One year ago, the last time the U.S. Trade Representative’s office issued its Notorious Markets List, I wrote that China’s’ search engine giant Baidu had cleaned up its act so much in terms of intellectual property infringement that it was removed from the list entirely. This was no surprise as we have seen a visible…

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Update on the Qiaodan-Michael Jordan Trademark Dispute

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Fujian-based sportswear and footwear producer Qiaodan Sports Co said Thursday that it may sue Michael Jordan for malicious prosecution in a counterstrike against a lawsuit the US basketball star filed against it in February. If Qiaodan does decide to file a lawsuit, the charges would be “malicious prosecution, infringing upon the reputation of Qiaodan Sports…

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China’s IPR Abuse Problem. Wait, What?

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In case you hadn’t noticed, 99.999% of the China IP disputes that bubble to the surface in the media involve either bona fide questions of fact or law, or alternatively, famous brands/companies. Either way, one would be hard pressed to assert that there are not real consequences at stake with these cases. Moreover, unless you’ve…

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Nike’s “Liu Xiang” Trademark Problem

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I’ve received a couple of questions about the current dispute over the “Liu Xiang” trademark between Nike and a Shanghai clothing company, and although the case is fairly straightforward, here’s the FYI. As you probably know, the world-class hurdler Liu Xiang has a representation deal with Nike, so its therefore in Nike’s interest to nail…

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Beijing Judge Gives “Haager-Dasz” Trademark Thumbs Down

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You probably think this is a pretty easy case. This “Haager-Dasz” trademark was obviously filed in bad faith, and this local company should not be allowed to use it. This is yet another one of those trademark squatting situations, right? Yes, but that doesn’t mean that the case is, as we say back home, “open and…

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