After Years Of Being Called An IP ‘Thief,’ China Now Out-Patenting Others… And Suing

from the careful-what-you-wish-for dept

It amazes me that the narrative is still out there about how China is an “intellectual property thief” and that the US and other western nations need to “convince China to respect intellectual property.” We heard that for decades, but for over a decade now, we’ve been pointing out that China responded to all that scolding by massively ramping up its efforts to obtain patents for Chinese companies, and then using those patents to sue western companies. That is, just as we predicted, all the screaming to pressure China into “respecting IP” was literally handing China a protectionist weapon. Which it’s been using. A lot. To the point that some US officials have started freaking out, and arguing that the US should ignore Chinese attempts to enforce its patents.

The Financial Times has an article on the latest, which is that China is basically now a patenting powerhouse and is using it to cause serious trouble, especially when it comes to patents used in standards, or so called “standard essential patents” or SEPs. We’ve talked about SEPs in the past, as they’re incredibly lucrative if you can get your patent included in a SEP, as it’s basically a ticket for printing money… and for making sure that basic core technology has to come from certain companies. And that’s of tremendous interest to Chinese telecommunications equipment firms…

In what some lawyers see as a trend, Chinese companies have become increasingly assertive in the relatively narrow field of “standard essential patents”. So-called SEPs are used widely in the telecommunications industry to license and provide access to patented technologies.

In recent years, Chinese courts have issued four key cross-border “anti-suit injunctions” following claims made by the country’s massive telecom equipment and smartphone groups — Huawei, Xiaomi, ZTE and Oppo — in disputes against Germany’s Conversant, US group InterDigital, and Japan’s Sharp.

Of course, once again, China doing this is… just copying how patenting and patent suits work in the US. They learned it from watching us. Again.

In February, at the World Trade Organization, the EU complained about China and these cases, noting that the penalties from anti-suit injunctions are “typically set at the maximum level allowed for under Chinese Civil Procedure Law” — roughly Rmb1mn per day, or $157,000. The US, Japan and Canada have subsequently joined the WTO proceedings.

Yet the Chinese courts were not the first to issue orders to stop a company from pursuing proceedings in SEP disputes in other jurisdictions. Anti-suit injunctions have been on the rise across the US, the UK, Germany and India since a dispute between Microsoft and Motorola 10 years ago.

And yet, none of this will matter. The narrative is so entrenched that I’m sure we’ll continue hearing more and more stories about how the US needs to get China to “respect intellectual property” as Chinese firms laugh all the way to the courts…

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Comments on “After Years Of Being Called An IP ‘Thief,’ China Now Out-Patenting Others… And Suing”

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Raziel says:

After Years Of Being Called An IP ‘Thief,’ China Now Out-Patenting Others… And Suing

This isn’t all that surprising, TBH. For how long was Japan accused of being “a hotbed of copyright thieves” due to its long tradition of borrowing from other cultures (after it shed its insularity), and then Nintendo started suing over every little thing?

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Anonymous Coward says:

Japan started off making cheap products as it built up a tech sector, also its lucrative to buy up old Companys just for patents, like audio, phone, tech patents, that’s why theres only a few American company’s making phones,
It goes both ways, I thought the point of standards us frand, eg other Companys should be able to licence the standards at a reasonable price
If someone is a member of wto thier parents can’t be ignored for no reason

ECA (profile) says:

Re: Japan

Dont/didnt make that many Cheap products.
They had a hard time selling into the USA, when they brought in the FIRST Portable transistor radio’s.
They werent over priced. Its Just the price was high. The Lowered the prices and it Sold, slowly, but they created the market.
But, Japan Quit Major Manufacture because of the pollution, and they Like fishing off the coast. The Problem Coming in the Near Future is all the pollution from China into the Sea of Japan.
Most of Our competing Corps LEFT here, because they didnt want to CLEAN UP, after themselves.

Arijirija says:

Two phrases spring to mind:
“Cutting your nose off to spite your face”, and “Hoist on his own petard”.
Oh, and the obligatory phrase from Princess Leia: “The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.”
We’ve been seeing the US use the patent system to tighten its grip on commerce world-wide. And now it appears to have backfired.

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DBA Phillip Cross says:

Well, China didn’t learn from watching the US, they learned from the histroical march of capital.

And, the Hollywood Mafia and its corporate backers are actually teaching China to do such things now via DCMA, etc., and One amendment after another in the Chinese law–.

It’s a case of the corporate octopus swallowing the shrimps in a new biodome. Germany-to-England, 1890-England/Germany-to US, 1910-45, US-to-Japan, etc.

Also known as “the march of capital.”

Anonymous Coward says:


Well, China didn’t learn from watching the US, they learned from the histroical march of capital.

Said the boy toy of the entire CCP. I’m not even going to address the rest of your “comment” because it’s predictable that it’ll be the same dictatorship-glorifying nonsense.

DBA Phillip Cross says:

Re: Re:

the boy toy of the entire CCP

Mods–why do you allow this gay-bashing asshat to troll here without consequence?

I freely admit that I am studying these nations, and somewhat becoming a fan of these dictators reactions to western asymmetrical warfare of all kinds–Putin, clamping down on the bio-warfare labs in Ukraine, a crisis that surpasses the Cuban Missile situation of decades ago; swooping in to Chernobyl, and stopping the Kosher Nostra from using DU to start a dirty war, and fighting “the Israeli-funded Nazi’s,.”

So, after watching freedom die in the US-FVEY’s, as every paid shill and AC troll like you undermined democratic discourse online, by attacking citizens like me (in droves, I might add),and Fusion Center’s along with the NSA-Israel data theft pipeline, militarized policing, and vote suppression amongst certain populations swung elections, meh. Democracy is simply what type of PR one can buy.

The FVEY’s are a case study in the collapse of empire–so if you are comparing dictators to empire, well, you lost me there, because technically, communist and socialist nations are not “dictatorships.” . I believed in democracy, once–then I met AC trolls like you online (and offline too) who are charged with theocratic zeal to undermine every democratic discourse.

The US is not a democracy–it’s a full blown police and surveillance state wit a huge PR problem, and indisputably on a par with China’s surveillance apparatus, and not at all like Russia, which has fewer surveillance and tech problems (so far.)

The good news is no drive-by shootings, school shootings, forced buggery, or drug gangs running politics in any of these places run by “the commies.”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

The FVEY’s are a case study in the collapse of empire–so if you are comparing dictators to empire, well, you lost me there, because technically, communist and socialist nations are not “dictatorships”.

And here you are, completely ignoring the fact that I never said all communist countries are dictatorships, only that China is. And according to the information given in the second link you posted, I was correct in that assertion since China is provably a single-party state. How does it feel to be hoist by your own petard, dumbass?
As for there being no school shootings in communist countries, are you seriously trying to tell me that Tatarstan isn’t part of Russia. And before you start again, I’m not ignoring the fact that Russia is officially a democracy, but unlike you, I won’t ignore the fact that it’s effectively communist under Putin, either.

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