03 April 2017
Washington DC
Reporter: Barney Dixon

US complains about China’s pharma patent and trade secret problems


Intellectual property enforcement has contributed to a reduction in the US goods trade deficit in China, but infringement continues to be a key barrier.

According to the US Trade Representative’s 2017 National Trade Estimate, which was released on 31 March, China has undertaken a “wide-ranging revision of its framework of laws and regulations aimed at protecting the intellectual property rights of domestic and foreign rights holders”, as part of its accession to the World Trade Organisation.

These actions have contributed to a 5.5 percent decrease ($20.1 billion) in the US goods trade deficit with China. The deficit stood at $347 billion in 2016.

But “inadequacies in China’s IP rights protection and enforcement regime continue to present serious barriers to US exports and investment”.

The US highlighted China’s commitment to permit supplemental data supporting pharmaceutical patent applications, but noted that, to date, it has only implemented the commitment in part.

The US is hopeful, however, that the Chinese government will implement its proposed revisions to its patent examination guidelines, which includes an amendment to the supplemental data commitment.

If implemented, the proposed revision would “represent an important step toward the supplemental data practice in the US and other jurisdictions”.

Trade secret theft was also targeted in the report, an area that the USTR said is “a serious problem”, and subject to “high-profile attention and engagement in recent years”.

“Most troubling are reports that actors affiliated with the Chinese government and the Chinese military have infiltrated the computer systems of US companies, stealing terabytes of data, including the companies’ intellectual property, for the purpose of providing commercial advantages to Chinese enterprises.”

The US has previously received commitments from China not to condone state-sponsored misappropriation of trade secrets, and to revise its Anti-Unfair Competition Law.

But China’s proposed provisions for the law only included minor changes to the provisions on trade secrets and “did not address the full range of US concerns in this area”.

More news
The latest news from IPPro Patents
Join Our Newsletter

Sign up today and never
miss the latest news or an issue again

Subscribe now
Universities should be more flexible
18 August 2017 | London | Reporter: Barney Dixon
Perceived barriers could potentially be torn down by the Aarhus University’s proposed ‘patent free’ research zone, but academia should not be wedded to a single solution, according to Sean Jauss, partner at Mewburn Ellis
Ericsson sues Wiko over standard-essential patents
17 August 2017 | Stockholm | Reporter: Barney Dixon
Ericsson has sued smartphone maker Wiko for infringement of standard-essential patents for 2G, 3G and 4G technology
Ropes & Gray hires leading PTAB litigator
16 August 2017 | Washington DC | Reporter: Barney Dixon
Ropes & Gray has recruited leading US Patent Trial and Appeal Board litigator Scott McKeown
Trump fires forward in China IP investigation
15 August 2017 | Washington DC | Reporter: Barney Dixon
US President Donald Trump has signed a memorandum asking the US Trade Representative to examine whether China should be investigated for alleged intellectual property malpractice
Nintendo Switch ‘infringes’ Gamevice patent
14 August 2017 | California | Reporter: Barney Dixon
Handheld game controller company Gamevice claimed that the Nintendo Switch infringes its 2015 patent for a slip-on game controller used with a smartphone or tablet
BPO takes radical approach to patent backlog
14 August 2017 | Brasília | Reporter: Barney Dixon
The Brazilian Patent Office has published a proposal that intends to eliminate patentability analysis
Sanofi sues Merck for patent infringement
11 August 2017 | New Jersey | Reporter: Barney Dixon
Sanofi has filed a lawsuit against Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp, alleging infringement of two patents for a diabetes drug