SAN JOSE, Calif. - Enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR) laws still remains a ''serious problem'' in China, according to a new and recent report from the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC).
''Significant structural and institutional impediments undermine effective enforcement, including the protection of IPR infringing industries by local Chinese officials, a lack of coordination among government agencies, insufficient enforcement resources and training, and non-deterrent civil and criminal penalties,'' according to the report.
''However, there are some signs of improvement in IPR enforcement, particularly in courts in major cities in China,'' according to the report. But, however, ''ineffective IPR enforcement contributes to the widespread infringement of U.S. firms' copyrights, trademarks, patents, and trade secrets in China.''
Here are some major findings in the report:
*IPR enforcement in China consists of raids and seizures. But they only result in temporary shutdowns in production within factories. Criminal prosecutions are ''rare.''
*''China is implementing indigenous innovation policies that may reduce business opportunities for U.S. firms in China's fast-growing economy. This 'web of policies' often embedded in government procurement, technical standards, anti-monopoly, and tax regulations may make it difficult for foreign companies to compete on a level playing field in China.''
*''There is also growing concern that the Chinese government's indigenous innovation policies, which promote the development, commercialization, and purchase of Chinese products and technologies, may create new barriers to U.S. foreign direct investment (FDI) and exports to China.''
*Some 240,000 Internet cafes in China reportedly rely on ''illegal copies'' of entertainment software. Products and trademarks are still ''routinely'' counterfeited.
*China was the source of some 79 percent of all U.S. customs seizures in 2009. Hong Kong accounted for 10 percent. In total, the domestic value of all U.S. custom seizures were about $204.7 million in 2009.
*China only pays a fraction of IPR royalties, as compared to other countries.