August 1, 2004

How bad is IP theft in China? And what can you do about it?

It's not coincidence. The past 18 months saw two major IP lawsuits involving Chinese electronics firms. In the first, Cisco Systems sued Chinese telecom manufacturer Huawei Technologies for allegedly stealing router source code. In the second, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) accused Shanghai-based foundry Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC) of stealing trade secrets. The cases served as vivid reminders that in China IP rights are often problematic. IP theft is rampant in China, according to Patrick Powers, director of the Beijing office of the Washington, D.C.-based trade group the US-China Business Council. "If you do business in China, you should assume that your designs and products can and will be copied," he warns.


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