I will be joining the Silicon Valley roadshow.
I hope to see you there!
The US Department of Commerce has an opening for the IP Attaché in Guangzhou. Application for the position closes September 29, 2017. Requirements include knowledge of intellectual property, a law degree, US bar admission and US citizenship. The announcement does not indicate that knowledge of Mandarin or Cantonese languages is required, although it does require experience of working with foreign IP laws. Please see the announcement for further information.
USPTO will be conducting two more of its China Road Shows July 10 and 12, 2017 in Detroit and Grand Rapids, Michigan. Invited VIP guests in Detroit include the Mayor of Detroit and Rep. Conyers, who are joined by many experience national and local practitioners, academics and officials. Details are available here. Detroit is currently sold out, but may reopen if additional seating is obtained. Grand Rapids remains available according to the PTO website.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Boston Bar Association and the U.S. Commercial Service for Massachusetts are bringing together thought leaders and policy makers on China IP issues from U.S. Government, academics to discuss China IP issues on April 18, 2017. Here is the flyer of the Boston Bar China IP Program.
The Boston event is part of the U.S. PTO China team’s nationwide efforts to help U.S. businesses and inventors understand how they can obtain and enforce IP rights in China. Registration including breakfast and lunch is $25.00. The program lasts from 8 AM to 1 PM, and there are optional consultations with industry at the Commerce Department’s offices in Boston immediately following the program. Prof. Mark Wu of Harvard Law School is the keynote speaker.
The next programs in this series will be in Dallas and Houston.
USPTO has posted a position for an unpaid extern in Chinese intellectual property matters commencing June 6, 2017. The position requires the following skills:
– Knowledge of Chinese language
– Knowledge of Intellectual Property (IP)
– Ability to research US and Chinese cases
– Ability to use Excel and PowerPoint
– Skill in preparing instructional material
The extern will assist staff of the USPTO’s China Team by researching intellectual property issues in China and assisting with organizing meetings and programs. Some instruction on Chinese IP databases may be provided.
There have been several Chinese officials with authority over IP over the past few years who have been promoted. In December, the Ministry of Commerce recently reported that DG Li Chengang was promoted to Assistant Minister in December 2016, with authority over law and treaties (which includes trade-related IP). His predecessor, Assistant Minister Tong Dao-chi, was also promoted and now serves as Vice Governor of Hubei as of December 2016. Across the straits, in July 2016, Madame Wang Mei-hua, who was formerly in charge of TIPO was promoted to Vice Minister of Economic Affairs.
The most prominent of the Chinese officials with deep IP experience who saw their career advance due to IP involvement in recent years is Madame Tao Kaiyuan the former DG in charge of Guangdong’s IP Department, who has served as one of the justices on China’s Supreme People’s Court since 2013, and has been a key advocate for judicial reforms and promoting rule of law. Several other Chinese IP judges have also seen promotions in the recent years (Madame Tao and several current and former IP judges are pictured below). Another official with deep IP experience, Chen Fuli of MofCOM also was promoted from his former position as IP Attaché in Washington, DC and Director at MofCOM, where he oversaw IP engagement with the United States to his current position of Deputy Director General.
Also of note, former Chief Judge Randall Rader is reported to be under consideration to become the next Director of the USPTO under the incoming Trump Administration. Rader has noted that “Yes, several senators have sent my name to the Trump team for the position of director of the USPTO,” and that “The best way to protect U.S. jobs is to protect worldwide the IP that creates and guarantees those jobs.” China has also been quick to recognize Judge Rader’s accomplishments.n December 2016, he was awarded an Honorary Professorship by the President of Tsinghua University.
The current situation for Chinese IP officials contrasts with the experience of only a few years ago when it appeared that many Chinese IP agencies and officials were riding China’s new Antimonopoly Law, and not IP, to advance their agencies or careers. Officials such as DG Shang Ming moved from law and treaties in MofCOM to antitrust. At that time, China’s IP courts also picked up civil antitrust jurisdiction and the unfair competition bureau of SAIC also picked up antitrust authority.During those years, several officials also privately complained to me that their career advancement had been stymied by focusing too much on IP issues or engagement with foreigners. Some may also have seen former Vice Premier Wu Yi’s retirement in 2008 as tied to the filing of a WTO on IPR against China, which she appeared to take as a personal loss and that he had promised to fight vigorously against.
As far as I know, the most dramatic and unusual employment engagement of an IP-knowledgeable official was made by another ardent IP supporter, Abraham Lincoln, when he appointed Edwin Stanton as Secretary of War due, in part, to his experience of working with him on a patent litigation when Lincoln was a private lawyer.
When officials who believe in IP are promoted to positions of higher authority it is a good sign of political support for protecting IP. This is true of both the United States and China.
Last July 20, 2016，USPTO and Renimin University jointly hosted a program at Renmin University on Copyright Developments in China and the United States. The program was covered by some of the specialty media. Here’s a brief summary regarding some of the four key developments in China that I abstracted from the speakers at the conference:
In general, the speakers agreed that China needs copyright reform for its own needs, and that this reform was not due to outside pressure. In addition, there are increasing opportunities for collaboration between the United States and China on the creation and distribution of copyrighted content, which appear to be mirroring increased collaboration in science and technology. Ultimately, China needs improved copyright protection and enforcement in light of its own desires to increase its soft power, and support its creative industries.