If you’ve listened to the news any time within the last eighteen months, you’ve likely heard some mention of trade talks with China’s President Xi. One major issue affecting the United States’ current trade relations with China has to do with rampant intellectual theft of American enterprises. Chinese officials deny any such problem, while American business experts say the impact of this practice is alive and well – and costing American businesses billions as a result.
According to CNN, a United States – China Trade Representative states that intellectual theft costs American businesses between $225 billion and $600 billion yearly. Although that statistic alone is quite startling, when one considers that up to eighty percent of a company’s assets are intangible – such as patents or copyrights that protect a company and give it the ability to produce certain products without worry that another company might try to produce a cheaper alternative – one understands that the theft of intellectual property costs companies a monumental amount of money.
China’s Attempt at IP Regulations
One in five American corporations believe that it has been affected by Chinese theft of intellectual property. However, President Xi insists that he is working to bring an end to the theft of intellectual property by Chinese organizations. In April, Xi introduced an initiative known as the Sword Net program, which is meant to directly curtail copyright infringement. However, experts state that since the 1990s, the Chinese government has introduced some type of program that is meant to curb intellectual theft, all to no avail.
China is notorious for stealing movies and music that is copyright protected here in America and either providing free copies of such online or for a much cheaper price. Textbooks and other educational material is regularly stolen and distributed online in China.
The Global Impact of IP Theft
China’s theft of intellectual property not only affects the United States, but other nations across the globe, including many from Europe, Australia, Latin America, and Canada. Each of these countries has a vested interest in the latest trade talks which America has doggedly pursued with China. These countries’ corporations lose as much money as does the United States when it comes to the theft of intellectual property. china ip theft is costing a multitude of the Western world’s profits, and there is no sign that this will stop any time soon.
As previously stated, China maintains that they are fighting the theft of intellectual property, but, the United States is, for a change, demanding proof that the country is actually stepping up their efforts. Because this problem has existed for at least thirty years without any real solution – and no help from the Chinese government – most economists are reluctant to believe that China’s President Xi or any other government entity intends to end the rampant and blatant theft of intellectual property.
IP Espionage: A Hiring Incentive in China?
Although the theft of copyrighted material, patents, and trade secrets is a major part of China’s intellectual property rip-off, there is much more that is involved. Individuals who seek to be hired by many Chinese business firms are told to gather as much pertinent information from the corporation for which they currently work in order to be hired. This is a form of espionage, and many of these individuals will carry knowledge from one workplace to another. This allows the Chinese firm to then do their best to outdo the product that is currently being manufactured in another area.
What’s more, even though President Xi routinely denies that intellectual property theft is a problem in China, experts relate that there are government agents specifically tasked with recruiting individuals that business firms believe have access to the intellectual knowledge of a competitor. Apple and Tesla have both fought with the loss of intellectual property to employees recruited away by Chinese operatives. In one case, an actual Chinese government agent attempted to steal information regarding jet technology from GE Aviation. He was arrested shortly after.
As recently as September 2019, the topic of China’s rampant, unabated theft of intellectual property continued to dominate the headlines. President Trump continues to meet with President Xi regarding this issue, attempting to levy tariffs on Chinese exports to the United States in an effort to quell the ongoing china ip theft. Unfortunately, President Xi answered the tariffs enacted by Trump with tariffs of his own. Yes, the theft of intellectual property is still very much a problem in 2019.
GHB Intellect Specializes in Combatting IP Theft
It is organizations such as GHB Intellect that are helping to garner financial satisfaction from Chinese corporations that steal intellectual property. More firms should work together to hit these thieves where it counts – financially.