"Since joining the World Trade Organization (WTO), China has recognized the importance to its own economic development of protecting intellectual property," said SIA President George Scalise. "China has enacted a number of laws to protect intellectual property, including a law to protect semiconductor layout designs. Enforcement of IP protection laws has been widely recognized as falling short of what is needed to deter violations. In some cases, penalties for violation of IP rights are so light that they are considered to be a routine cost of doing business."
SIA said more information about China's IP protection enforcement measures would benefit both China and its trading partners. "We have met with officials in China who believe that effective IP protection is essential to encouraging innovation and stimulating economic growth," said Scalise. "We are hopeful that a systematic collection of the penalties meted out for IP violations will pressure those regions within China where the penalties are insufficient to deter counterfeiting. The best approach is always to deter violations before they occur, and this requires effective enforcement and sufficient sanctions that those who intentionally and consistently violate the IP of others cannot simply treat penalties as a routine cost of doing business," Scalise concluded.
Today's requests by the United States, Japan, and Switzerland were made under the WTO's Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property agreement. This agreement requires that WTO signatory countries ensure that enforcement procedures of IP rights "are available under their law so as to permit effective action against any act of infringement of intellectual property rights covered by this Agreement." The agreement also allows any country to request that another country provide information about its laws, judicial decisions, and administrative rulings related to IP.
The SIA is the leading voice for the semiconductor industry and has represented U.S. semiconductor companies since 1977. Collectively, the chip industry employs a domestic workforce of 225,000 people. More information about the SIA can be found at www.sia-online.org.
Semiconductor Industry Association John Greenagel/Daryl Hatano, 408-436-6600 Email Contact