Chinese Company Sues American Retailers For Selling 'Knockoffs'

from the yes,-read-that-again dept

Jake points us to a story that (as Jake notes) makes you read the headline twice to make sure you got it right: Chinese Company Sues in U.S. to Block "Knockoff". It's not really "knockoffs" that they're suing over. It's a patent infringement claim from Changzhou Asian Endergonic Electronic Technology Co., which is upset that Best Buy, Wal-Mart and some other retailers are selling a competitors' dashboard mount that it claims is covered by its own patent.

Now, there are a bunch of points worth discussing here. First, apparently this is the first such case of a Chinese company (based in China) suing in the US over a patent infringement claim (a claim that really surprises me). Considering the long history of China copying (blatantly) American products and then reselling them, it's really quite fascinating to see a Chinese company now complain about the "reverse." Of course, as we've been highlighting recently, there's been a big push in China to build up a belief in patents. It seems this firm has already learned the basics of the American patent system: it's suing in Texas, of course!

The other odd thing about this case is filing the lawsuit against the retailers. The company is also suing the manufacturer (another Chinese company) which makes sense, but I've never understood why going after the retailer makes sense. Best Buy, Wal-Mart and others shouldn't need to investigate every product they sell to determine whether it violates someone else's patents. Let that be handled between vendors. Dragging the retailers into the lawsuit is just a waste of resources.

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  1. identicon awesome, 17 Jul 2009 @ 3:45pm

    This is great news

    Let's hope china and Russia sue the hell out of every American that they can . Nothing will wake up congress like a massive international idea patent thicket :) I can see the day when someone on Capitol hill realizes what a mess we've made by allowing ownership of ideas.

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