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Blowback from IP Imperialism: Chinese Companies Again Using Patents To Punish Foreign Competitors

I’ve noted before how the US strongarms other countries to “strengthen” IP law, primarily at the behest of American music, movie, and pharmaceutical interests. See, e.g.:

Now, as Mike Masnick notes in the Techdirt post below, China, which “recognizes that patents are really a protectionist tool,” is “using them as such” against American companies.

Chinese Companies Again Using Patents To Punish Foreign Competitors: Apple Sued Over Siri In Shanghai

from the had-to-expect-this dept

For many years, US companies and government officials complained publicly and privately that China just didn’t “respect” patents. They would point to how various Chinese companies were famous for making knockoffs of various products as evidence of this, and they’d put strong diplomatic pressure on China to both “respect” foreign patents more and beef up its own patent system. Of course, for years, we’ve been warning about just how stupid this is. China recognizes that patents are really a protectionist tool, and is using them as such. It has certainly increasedits patenting effort… but nearly every single major patent lawsuit in China has been aboutpunishing foreign companies and blocking competition to domestic Chinese companies.

So it should come as little surprise to find out that a company in Shanghai, Zhi Zhen Internet Technology, is now suing Apple, claiming that voice-controlled virtual assistant Siri violates its patents. No one seems to know specifically what’s in the patent, but I do wonder if it matters. Like so many Chinese patent lawsuits this one just seems likely to end up with a foreign competitor being kept out of the market in favor of the domestic version.

And yet… American companies and politicians will still continue to insist that China needs to “strengthen” its patent system, even as Chinese companies and politicians must be laughing at just how self-defeating the Americans are. We’re literally urging them to set up a system that helps Chinese companies block American companies from their market.

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To the extent possible under law, Stephan Kinsella has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to C4SIF. This work is published from: United States. In the event the CC0 license is unenforceable a  Creative Commons License Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License is hereby granted.