Chinese Foreign Trade Relations : Intellectual Property Enforcement Context

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Improving Chinese Foreign Trade Relations: Intellectual Property Enforcement Context I. Introduction American businesses are losing up to an estimated $60 billion each year in the global market from intellectual property violations. The problem continues to grow as more American companies invest overseas, and more products consist of intangible or intellectual property. American companies face more than just economic challenges: if losses of intellectual property rights continue to go unchecked, businesses may choose not to make foreign investments, customers may be injured, and innovation discouraged. One of the biggest challenges for many North American companies is protecting their business or trade secrets. When such companies invest abroad, they often forge relationships such as joint ventures or partnerships with foreign companies. In these relationships, the American company generally provides the technology or “know-how” needed for the venture. Providing the “know-how” creates risk for the American company because it reveals its secrets at the outset of the relationship while the foreign partner must share only the business ' profits later on. When the business relationship works, the secret is safe. However, when the relationship fails, the secret may well be lost. The common saying that a trade secret once lost is lost forever is especially true in international violations. Damages and injunctions often are not adequate to recover the lost opportunity
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