NYU Program on Due Process for Foreign Business in China

I was honored to be invited to moderate the opening session for the 21st annual Timothy A Gelatt Dialogue at NYU Law on “Due Process for Foreign Business in China?” on November 12, 2015.

Here’s a quick summary the program (November 14, 2015):

There were presentations on intellectual property (by me/Mark Cohen), antitrust, human rights, detention and release of foreigners, and cybersecurity.

As several speakers noted business people have human rights too, although these interests are often ignored by the human rights community in favor of non-commercial issues. Another speaker also suggested that the current division between human rights and commercial law made little sense, and that human rights advocacy should pick up commercial concerns, while commercial concerns should also not ignore human rights issues.

In listening to various anecdotes, it became apparent to many of us that no matter how cautious, expert or how much of a “China hand” one is, one (or one’s client) may not be immune from detention, arrest or arbitrary proceedings, and that these legal proceedings may be initiated out of spite and well distanced from any kind of legal accountability. One speaker suggested that in the current environment, China has neither rule of law nor rule by laws, but rule by agency in a range of fields.

I gave a presentation on due process concerns for foreigners, noting that there were increasing concerns about national treatment and differential procedures and remedies for foreigners in IP litigation, including detention during the pendency of a disputed legal matter, extended time periods for civil litigation, delays in evidence gathering and extra-territorial reach of the courts. I also briefly discussed how foreign courts were handling disputes that involved concerns over handling of matters by Chinese courts or enforcement agencies (notably Gucci and Vringo). Some speakers also expressed concern about an increasing extraterritorial reach of the Chinese courts.

Regarding antitrust and intellectual property, one expert in the field asked a question about whether Chinese practices were mercantilistic/outliers, or simply reflected the interests of “implementers” vs innovators.  I noted that I had heard these perspectives expressed previously, but I wondered if China was in fact proposing a different kind of question: whether antitrust law demanded any proportionality with IP protection as it seemed to me that imposing nearly one billion dollars in damages (in the Qualcomm case) is disproportionately high in a country where average patent damages are 20 to 30,000 dollars, and even injunctive relief can be difficult to enforce.

There appeared to be widespread support regarding the Xi/Obama outcome on establishing a dialogue on cybersecurity. Some speakers noted that cybersecurity had widely different concepts in the United States and China, with the Chinese focus on cybersecurity referring to the overall control by the state of the Internet and related infrastructure.  The Chinese government was also interested in direct regulation of the Internet with more government controls.

Several speakers saw an important relationship amongst cyberespionage, innovation policies and antitrust as calculated efforts by China to develop its technological edge. In addition, several speakers from a range of disciplines noted that China and Chinese officials were now increasingly engaged in efforts to advance its own perspectives in areas such as human rights, cybersecurity/internet governance and antitrust, which may increasingly challenge the United States’ role as a global norm setter.

Altogether, it was a great group of thought leaders with divergent backgrounds but convergent and deep interests in China. My congratulations to Jerome A. Cohen, Ira Belkin and NYU’s Asian law Institute.

NYU Lunch Program on China IP on March 5, 2015

On March 5, I will be joining Prof.  Barton Beebe and others at NYU in a luncheon discussion on IP issues in China.   I have attended or spoken at several of these NYU luncheon programs, hosted by Prof. Jerome Cohen (no relation) and they are all always a pleasure.  There is no fee for attending, but please RSVP.  Here is an excerpt from the announcement.

“Our next distinguished lunch speaker, on Thursday, March 5 in Furman Hall (245 Sullivan St) rm 120, will be Barton Beebe, the John M. Desmarais Professor of Intellectual Property Law at NYU School of Law.  Professor Beebe specializes in the doctrinal, empirical, and cultural analysis of intellectual property and has published work on shanzhai, sumptuary law, and intellectual property law in modern China.  In addition Mark Cohen …  will also make comments and participate in the lunchtime discussion. The talk will be from 12:30pm-1:45pm.

Please send an email to michael.chenkin@nyu.edu by Tuesday, March 3 at 12pm if you plan to attend. 

Barton Beebe’s published works include Intellectual Property law and the Sumptuary Code, 123 Harvard Law Review 809 (2010), and An Empirical Study of U.S. Copyright Fair Use Opinions, 1978-2005, 156 Pennsylvania Law Review 549 (2008).”

Prof. Beebe’s article on shanzhai, IP and sumptuary law in China is found here.

 

China Transitions: Where People Went in 2011, And Where They Are Headed

Looking back on 2011 and into 2012, it has been a year with considerable transition for individuals following IP issues in China.

There were some important lateral changes in the private sector.   With the Hogan Lovells merger, Doug Clark went to Hong Kong, and Horace Lam left Hogan Lovells for Jones Day in China.  Former Supreme People’s Court IPR Chief Judge, Jiang Zhipei, left the Fangda Partners for King and Wood.  Meanwhile, King and Wood, which already had a large China IP practice, merged with the Australian law firm, Mallesons, which has a Chinese IP practice.  Amongst the more recent retirees from the Chinese government, Xu Chao, of the National Copyright Administration, and Yin Xintian, of the State Intellectual Property Office, both left the government for the Wanhuida law firm.  An Qinghu, the former Director General in charge of the Chinese Trademark Office, also left his parent agency, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, to work for the Chinese Trademark Association. Continue reading