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US-China Mutual Interest in IPR

China’s lax protection of intellectual property rights cost IP-intensive companies in the United States nearly $50 billion in 2009, according to the International Trade Commission, and it may have cost the broader US economy more than twice that amount. But it often goes unmentioned that the pain actually goes both ways — hampering prospects for innovative enterprise in China, too.

This is why it was notable that Vice President Joe Biden emphasized the US and China’s mutual interest in protecting IP rights in a speech at Sichuan University during his recently concluded diplomatic trip. Lest it be overlooked, here is an excerpt:

But it’s also why we are troubled when American investors are prohibited from having wholly owned, fully owned subsidiaries of their own company in many sectors in China and excluded from sectors, entirely excluded from competing in other sectors; restrictions that no other major economy in the world imposes on us or anyone else so broadly. That’s why we have pushed Chinese officials to protect intellectual property rights. We have welcomed the Chinese State Council’s recent campaign to enforce intellectual property rights, a commitment that President Hu made when he visited and he’s keeping. But the effort must be strengthened and extended.

According to the International Trade Commission, American companies lose $48 billion a year and tens of thousands of jobs because of pirated goods and services. These protections — intellectual property protections not only benefit the United States and United States workers, United States companies, but I would argue Chinese companies, as well, as they increasingly seek to safeguard their own creations.

You’re here at this great university. It’s very much in your interest that intellectual property be protected because some of you are the future artists, the future entertainers, the future innovators who will want to be able to have a market for what you do. But if it can be acquired cheaply and pirated, why would anybody pay you for the same service?

The Vice President’s full speech is available on the White House website.

Jodie Kelley

Author:

Jodie L. Kelley leads BSA’s domestic and international compliance & enforcement programs including its copyright-enforcement activities, its compliance policy work, its efforts against Internet crime, and its educational programs to promote software license compliance and respect for intellectual property. Kelley serves as BSA’s general counsel for all corporate matters and manages BSAs’ compliance & enforcement programs and counsel in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and the Americas. Representing the largest copyright-based industry, BSA operates in more than 60 countries worldwide.

Prior to joining BSA, Kelley served for six years as Vice President and Deputy General Counsel of Fannie Mae, a government-sponsored enterprise chartered by Congress to provide liquidity, stability and affordability to the US housing and mortgage markets. There, she was responsible for managing the company’s litigation portfolio and its responses to various governmental inquiries. She also was responsible for advising the company on issues including antitrust and anti-fraud. Previously, she was a partner at Jenner & Block in Washington, where she specialized in civil and regulatory litigation and handled cases before trial and appellate courts and regulatory agencies throughout the country.

Kelley is a native of New Orleans, and a member of the Board of Directors of Commonwealth Academy. She earned her JD from Harvard Law School and BSS from The Pennsylvania State University.

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