In the past decade, China has experienced many impressive economic and technological developments. Intriguingly, the narrative about piracy and counterfeiting there is rarely linked to the narrative about the China's technological rise. To provide a more comprehensive picture, this article brings together these two different narratives to explore what their combination would mean for the United States and its intellectual property industries.
Delivered as the keynote luncheon address at the Symposium on "Applications of Intellectual Property Law in China," this article begins with the good news that China is at the cusp of crossing over from a pirating nation to a country respectful of intellectual property rights. It draws on the historical developments of intellectual property protection in the United States and other once-developing countries.
The article then delivers the bad news that, even though China will finally experience improvements in the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights when it hits the proverbial crossover point, such improvements will bring some disappointments and unintended consequences. In light of both the good and bad news, the article offers suggestions on three types of policy changes that could help prepare U.S. industries for the identified challenges. It specifically discusses changes at the domestic, bilateral and multilateral levels.
Noting the challenges of making prognostications, this article concludes by suggesting that the United States may still have some time and wiggle room to decide its course of action for the near future.