Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

China’s intellectual property rights policies: A strategic view

Abstract

A widely held view is that China can somehow “steal” its way into prosperity and thus it is in the Chinese government’s best interest to keep IP protection weak. Absent from this view is firms’ strategic decisions regarding innovation, imitation, and knowledge transfer, decisions that are beyond state control. Therefore, a party that builds its legitimacy on economic growth will have to balance the benefit of strong rule of law in stimulating innovation with the potential erosion of control, and the result is far from clear. In fact, given the dynamic, interactive nature of technological development, IP policies in most countries have been, and will continue to be, the result of a delicate balance among various stakeholders. China is no exception.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Ahmed, R. 2012. India Looks to Expand Drug-Price Controls. Wall Street Journal, September 5.

  2. Baldwin, C. Y., & Henkel, J. 2015. Modularity and intellectual property protection. Strategic Management Journal, 36(11): 1637–1655.

  3. Ball, J. 2013. How China’s solar boom fizzled and went bust. QZ.com, June 13.

  4. Berry, H. 2017. Managing valuable knowledge in weak IP protection countries. Journal of International Business Studies, 48(7): 787–807.

  5. Bian, R. 2017. Many things you know about patent infringement litigation in China are wrong. SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3063566.

  6. Boldrin, M., & Levine, D. K. 2007. Against intellectual monopoly. http://www.dklevine.com/general/intellectual/againstnew.htm.

  7. Brander, J. A., Cui, V., & Vertinsky, I. 2017. China and intellectual property rights: A challenge to the rule of law. Journal of International Business Studies, 48(7): 908–921.

  8. Breznitz, D., & Murphree, M. 2013. The rise of China in technology standards: New norms in old institutions. Research Report Prepared on Behalf of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission.

  9. Chen, Z., Liu, Z., Serrato, J., & Xu, D. 2019. Notching R&D investment with corporate income tax cuts in China. Working Paper, Duke University.

  10. Cohen, W., & Levinthal, D. 1990. Absorptive capacity: A new perspective on learning and innovation. Administrative Science Quarterly, 35(1): 128–152.

  11. de Rassenfosse, G., & Raiteri, E. 2016. Technology protectionism and the patent system: Strategic technologies in China. Available at SSRN 2803379.

  12. Duhigg, C. & Lohroct, S. 2012. The patent, used as a dword. New York Times, October 7, 2012.

  13. Feinberg, S. E., & Gupta, A. K. 2009. MNC subsidiaries and country risk: Internalization as a safeguard against weak external institutions. Academy of Management Journal, 52: 381–399.

  14. Hall, B. H., & Harhoff, D. 2012. Recent research on the economics of patents. Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, 4(1): 541–565.

  15. Hall, B. H., & Ziedonis, R. H. 2001. The patent paradox revisited: An empirical study of patenting in the US semiconductor industry 1979–1995. Rand Journal of Economics, 32(1): 101–128.

  16. Harrison, A., Meyer, M., Wang, P., Zhao, L., & Zhao, M. 2019. Can a tiger change its stripes? Reform of Chinese state-owned enterprises in the penumbra of the state. NBER Working Paper No. w25475.

  17. Hsieh, C. T., & Klenow, P. J. 2009. Misallocation and manufacturing TFP in China and India. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 124(4): 1403–1448.

  18. Hu, A., & Jefferson, G. 2008. Science and technology in China. In L. Brandt & T. Rawski (Eds), China’s great economic transformation (pp. 286–336). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  19. Huang, K. G., & Murray, F. E. 2009. Does patent strategy shape the long-run supply of public knowledge? Evidence from human genetics. Academy of Management Journal, 52(6): 1193–1221.

  20. Li, S., & Alon, I. 2020. China’s intellectual property rights provocation: A political economy view. Journal of International Business Policy. https://doi.org/10.1057/s42214-019-00032-x.

  21. Libman, A., & Rochlitz, M. 2019. Federalism in China and Russia. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

  22. Liebeskind, J. P. 1996. Knowledge, strategy, and the theory of the firm. Strategic Management Journal, 17: 93–107.

  23. Lily, H. F., Lerner, J., & Wu, C. 2017. Intellectual property rights protection, ownership, and innovation: Evidence from China. The Review of Financial Studies, 30(7): 2446–2477.

  24. Maddison, A. 2007. Contours of the world economy, 1–2030 AD: Essays in macro-economic history. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  25. Morck, R., & Yeung, B. 2016. China in Asia. China Economic Review, 40(C): 297–308.

  26. Moser, P. 2005. How do patent laws influence innovation? Evidence from nineteenth-century World’s fairs. American Economic Review, 95(4): 1214–1236.

  27. Moser, P. 2013. Patents and innovation: Evidence from economic history. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 27(1): 23–44.

  28. Navarro, P., & Autry, G. 2011. Death by China: Confronting the dragon – a global call to action. London: Pearson FT.

  29. Peng, M. W., Ahlstrom, D., Carraher, S. M., & Shi, W. S. 2017. An institution-based view of global IPR History. Journal of International Business Studies, 48(7): 893–907.

  30. Pillsbury, M. 2016. Hundred-Year Marathon. New York: Griffin.

  31. Rudd, K. 2018. How Xi Jinping views the world: The core interests that shape China’s behavior. Foreign Affairs, May 10, 2018.

  32. Somaya, D., & McDaniel, C. 2012. Tribunal specialization and institutional targeting in patent enforcement. Organization Science, 23(3): 869–887.

  33. Webb, M., Short, N., Bloom, N., & Lerner, J. 2018. Some facts of high-tech patenting. NBER Working Paper No. 24793.

  34. Wei, S., & Yu, X. 2019. 公正评估中国的知识产权保护. Yangpu: Fudan University.

  35. Zhao, M. 2006. Conducting R&D in countries with weak intellectual property rights protection. Management Science, 52(8): 1185–1199.

  36. Zhao, M. 2010. Policy complements to the strengthening of IPRs in developing countries – China’s intellectual property environment: A firm-level perspective. OECD Trade Policy Papers, No. 105, OECD, Paris.

  37. Zhao, M. 2020. Investment as an influencing strategy. Working paper.

  38. Ziedonis, R. H. 2004. Don’t fence me in: Fragmented markets for technology and the patent acquisition strategies of firms. Management Science, 52(6): 804–820.

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to Minyuan Zhao.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Accepted by Suma Athreye, Area Editor, 21 December 2019. This article was single-blind reviewed.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Zhao, M. China’s intellectual property rights policies: A strategic view. J Int Bus Policy 3, 73–77 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1057/s42214-019-00046-5

Download citation

Keywords

  • intellectual property rights
  • innovation
  • global strategy