Opinions and Editorials

Jun. 24, 2020

Newsweek: Amidst Chinese Aggression, U.S. Cannot Afford to Dilute Its IP Laws by Adam Mossoff

America’s trade war with China took an unexpected turn with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the global shutdown continues to ravage both countries’ populations and economies, the trade war has taken a backseat to more critical health and economic concerns.

Progress is being made against COVID-19 thanks to an unprecedented response by the biopharmaceutical sector. Hundreds of potential treatments and vaccines are currently being tested and more than one-half of this research and development is occurring in the U.S. But China is making gains in its intellectual property protections that will have far more important long-term implications in its race to develop and grow its own innovation economy.

China has turbocharged its efforts to safeguard its own IP with its recent announcement of its “Iron Fist” IP enforcement plan. Yet China continues to disrespect other countries’ innovators and creators with its rampant IP theft. China’s dual strategy of protecting its domestic IP while stealing the labors of innovators and creators in other countries represents quite the paradox. The country is embracing these two seemingly contradictory IP strategies in attempting to grow its own innovation economy in these troubled times.

Recently released reports by the U.S. Trade Representative and the House Republican Study Committee specifically call out China for its blatant IP piracy. They call for action by the U.S. government to better protect the fruits of creative labors of U.S. citizens. Unfortunately, rather than adopting better IP protections to respond to global threats from the People’s Republic of China, the U.S. is instead diluting its IP laws and undermining its own innovators and creators.

During the pandemic, the focus of the U.S. has been on weakening biopharmaceutical patents. But many other IP rights besides patent rights are under challenge today. Another example is copyright. The U.S. further risks losing its competitive advantage over China in securing IP from theft in in the upcoming copyright case at the Supreme Court, Google v. Oracle.