China: Our reputation for piracy is a stereotype

Any Florida resident with a passing knowledge of global politics knows that China has a reputation for ripping off the work of American firms. It’s common knowledge that a great deal of the knockoff handbags, counterfeit electronics and illegally replicated media items that are sold in the U.S. come from China.

China, however, doesn’t appreciate having this reputation.

On Sunday, China’s top-ranking official in charge of combating copyright piracy claimed that Western countries were “distorting” the issue, stereotyping his country and making a bigger deal of the piracy problem than is warranted.

Tian Lipu, who heads up China’s State Intellectual Property Office, said his country doesn’t deny there is a problem with piracy, but also said China is working against it and those efforts are being ignored.

He also pointed out that “there is a market” for counterfeit goods, which is why they continue to be made and sold.

The reason we are discussing this is that no Florida company is immune from Chinese piracy. You may think that you are too small or that your market is too narrow for Chinese companies to bother making knockoffs of your product, but you could be wrong. And what if you are?

It’s well-known that representatives of companies in China, Russia and other countries without a strong regard for intellectual property protections often go on expeditions to find medicine, software, handiworks and other items that they can duplicate. Simply put, we cannot afford for this to keep happening. U.S. companies deserve a level playing field and don’t deserve to be undermined and cheated out of their livelihoods.

Source: Reuters, “China slams ‘distorted’ view of copyright piracy problem,” Ben Blanchard, Nov. 11, 2012