Protecting Intellectual Property

By June 17, 2008Innovation, Trade

The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing today on the consumer benefits of protecting intellectual property. Two NAM-member companies were represented by witnesses, who offered testimony:

Mike Rose
Vice President
Supply Chain Technology
Johnson & Johnson
Fountainville, PA
Jeffrey Thurnau
Gates Corporation
Denver, CO


From Mr. Thurnau’s testimony:

Counterfeit parts and components for cars, trucks, buses and commercial vehicles pose a critical problem to the American economy and the supplier industry because of the wide range of counterfeit products manufactured and trafficked worldwide. Counterfeit goods cost motor vehicle suppliers at least $3 billion in the United States and $12 billion globally in lost sales. These losses correlate to at least 250,000 fewer motor vehicle supplier manufacturing jobs nationwide. Please note that these are conservative numbers based on a 1997 Federal Trade Commission study.

About 80 percent of all pirated goods seized at U.S. borders originate in China. And while it is clear in our industry that more pirated parts come from China than any other nation, we do face significant challenges from Russia, India and many other nations. The temptation might be to criticize the Chinese government for lack of intellectual property enforcement but our experience would say that is inaccurate and counterproductive. The counterfeiters that we deal with are for the most part rogue operators, criminals. The Chinese government pursues those criminals when our company presents evidence of our trademarks being violated. Enforcement issues are often caused by a lack of resources, particularly at the provincial and city level.

Wang Qishan, vice premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, has an op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal, “No More Chinese Knock-Offs,” detailing the government’s efforts to protect intellectual property rights. There’s a lot of work to do, that’s for sure.

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