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China, India like US Patent Reform

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The pending reform of US patent law that has "inventors" and the IP bar all upset (even though it only makes modest changes to the law) is welcome by India and China, at least. See, e.g., this Indian newspaper article arguing that the patent reform measures being considered by Congress will make it easier for India's patent holders to enter the U.S. market, by giving "a new inexpensive option for Indian drug makers to attack the patents that give monopoly rights to top-selling MNC brands in the largest pharmaceutical market." There's a similar piece in China, written by one of its leading intellectual property experts, Yongshun Cheng, former senior judge and deputy director of the Intellectual Property Division of the Beijing High People's Court. In "The Greatest Changes of the U.S Patent System in the Last 50 Years", published in China Intellectual Property News on November 7, 2007 (copy available here), Cheng argues that the proposed patent reform bill is bad news for American innovation and good news for foreign infringers, pointing out that the bill "is friendlier to the infringers than to the patentees in general as it will make the patent less reliable, easier to be challenged and cheaper to be infringed." He writes:

"It is not bad news for developing countries which have fewer patents. Many of the Chinese companies are not patent owners in the U.S. market and their products are often excluded from the market because of patent infringement accusations. This bill will give the companies from developing countries more freedom and flexibility to challenge the relative U.S. patent for doing business in U.S. and make it less costly to infringe."

Cheng concludes by claiming that the proposed bill is in conflict with the U.S. government's practice of pressuring China to strengthen its own protection of intellectual property rights.


Stephan Kinsella

Stephan Kinsella is an attorney in Houston, director of the Center for the Study of Innovative Freedom, and editor of Libertarian Papers.