by Glyn Moody

Filed Under:
antitrust, china, competition, patents

China's New Antitrust Rules Aim To Blunt Foreign Patent Threat

from the do-as-you-would-be-done-by dept

For years, the West -- particularly the US -- has been complaining about China's "lack of respect" for patents. And for years, Techdirt has been pointing out that China is actually a big fan of patents: its companies have been building up their own patent hoards at a rapid pace, and starting to deploy them against Western competitors. A report on Bloomberg Business explores how the Chinese government is also seeking to neutralize the threat of patents being used against its own manufacturers through the introduction of new antitrust rules:

The clampdown on patents has the potential to alter the balance of power in the global mobile-phone industry, which generated $412 billion last year, according to IDC. These new rules may weaken the ability of Apple, Microsoft Corp. and Qualcomm -- typically among the top 15 U.S. patent recipients each year -- to compete in China, the world's largest mobile-phone market, and other countries that follow.
There are two main elements to China's new policy, both of which will make it harder for Western companies to use key patents against Chinese competitors:
One involves patent values for technology included in industry standards, such as Wi-Fi. The other may require unique features -- like Apple’s slide-to-unlock feature, or Microsoft software that synchronizes calendars -- to be licensed by others if considered "dominant" or “essential.”
As the Bloomberg Business article rightly points out:
The Chinese ... are just formalizing what 100 years of legal precedent has done in the U.S. and Europe, and a lot will depend on how the governments implement the rules, antitrust lawyers said.
In other words, China will soon be "respecting" patents just as much as its Western counterparts -- and doubtless deploying them just as aggressively for competitive advantage.

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  • icon
    techflaws (profile), 29 May 2015 @ 1:31am

    The other may require unique features -- like Apple’s
    slide-to-unlock feature

    Slide-to-unlock is unique rather than obvious? Yeah, right.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    andy, 29 May 2015 @ 3:20am


    America has abused the copyright and the patent system for a long time and are about to feel the pain when others use the same rules to punish American business for using ideas that the east were using way before America. they are just doing things the American way and it is going to cost America trillions of dollars.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Wendy Cockcroft, 1 Jun 2015 @ 6:07am

    Okay, who's surprised? The wheel is about to turn full circle. It's what you get when you make a business model out of rent-seeking from outsourced jobs.

    Chances are, there will be an upside to this: outsourcing corporations may well elect to manufacture goods back home, where jobs are needed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Spaceman Spiff (profile), 1 Jun 2015 @ 12:39pm


    I think this falls into the category of "Beware what you wish for - you just might get it!". Personally, I hope that China (or someone - anyone) will be able to give our corporations a big kick in the ass and a black eye for being such greedy assholes!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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