Since from ancient times, China is called as the land of divine due to its rich culture and world-class inventions that include paper, tea, gunpowder and the navigational compass. Apart from being well known for inventions like these, China is now considered as the land of copycats. We can see the exact same products from western countries at cheaper prices. While some of them lack quality and durability, some products really touch the mark at ease and this makes people buy them instead of the originals. To many people, This seems to be a good thing as Chinese products help them to see what it’s like to try luxury goods at a lower price tag. But, in reality, this phenomenon has a big loophole and it causes huge loss to the creators who actually did the hard work in creating the originals.
What is Copyright Infringement?
“Copyright infringement also famously known as piracy is the use of works protected by copyright law without acquiring permission from its creators”. Imagine you invented a machine that can do a particular task easily and it took years for you to build it from scratch. Suddenly, you saw the same product in the market bearing another person’s name, how will you feel? Hence copyright policies are introduced to secure an invention from being copied. Although certain policies were introduced to secure the rights of the creator, they are some events that are still happening that causes major damage to copyrights. Among them, the Chinese products are still number one and you can see how some Chinese manufacturers are doing it deliberately.
The Jaw-Dropping Chinese Copying
Chinese manufacturers have excelled at taking the pivotal elements of an existing product from a major brand and succeeded in incorporating them into a “new” product. You can see how Chinese has managed to do it quite effectively in this image. In this image, you can see the comparison price between the Triple S shoe model from Spanish fashion brand Balenciaga and a Chinese imitation which is 6 times lower than the original model price. Not only shoes but Chinese also managed to copy TV-Shows, Gadgets, Creative Artistic Ideas and even Architectural Concepts as well.
So, Why do Chinese manufacturers opt for copying? We all know the reason why people often prefer copying instead of bringing it right from scratch. By copying the original, one can save time and money, don’t need to hire people and build high tech infrastructure for R&D.
How Are They Getting Away?
After going through all this, you might have this same question in your mind. “How are they getting away?” You might think copyright laws are not worth it or might not be applicable to people in other countries. But, it is only partly true. Yes, companies can sue those manufacturers who are copying any of their copyrighted material without prior permissions from its creator. But, they are not doing it. Do you want to know why? Do you want to know how those Chinese manufacturers are escaping from those tight hand of copyright infringement laws? Here are the two reasons behind it.
1. Legal Set up
Chinese manufacturers manage to escape from most of the copyright infringement issues, thanks to its legal set up. Let’s say you’ve identified your work which was registered under your name was copied by some person without your permission, the first thing you have to do is to contact them and if they didn’t respond, you have to contact a local attorney, file a complaint against them, a ruling is done. Most intellectual property infringement cases are handled in federal court which is present in whatever the country that you are living and if your claim was genuine, you get to sue them and can claim millions of dollars. But, in this case, there is no direct access to the infringer as they were present in another country.
The only chance to get money from them and to sue them is to proceed through local courts in China. You have to go to China, find a local attorney, file a case in their court, spend some big bucks, wait for relentless court proceedings which are a total waste of time and money. If you still want to go for it, the chances of winning against a court battle in another country are absolute zero. Do you want to know why? Let’s face it.
Did you apply for your patent in China? Every country has a different patent system of its own.
Do you happen to know the judiciary system and judges residing in China? Is there any guarantee that your case will be treated without being biased. I mean, Will the judges have a bias towards their fellow countrymen? Probably. Who knows?
Are you willing to spend your valuable time since the court proceeding might take a month to a year and of course a decade as well?
2. The Ability to Copy
After hearing all the things about the patents and policies, you might even think about doing the same thing as Chinese manufacturers – copying from other countries, but it’s not that easy. You need expertise, resources, thoughtfulness and mostly lots and lots of guts. Innovation means copying things with an added twist and no one knows better about adding that twist other than China. It’s an open secret that Chinese manufacturers follow this principle seriously and made billions out of it. Look at this image to see their expertise in copying.
PCT: The Only Way To Secure Patent Internationally
The only way to secure the patent from various countries like China is to nationalize it under “Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)”. A PCT Application is a “placeholder” utility application that consists of the filing date for your invention. It can subsequently be “nationalized” in any the countries who participate in this treaty. The PCT has more than 140 countries and nationalizing your patent through this is your only chance. But, this procedure is not easy, It’s an arduous and costly process and requires around 30 months waiting period. They copy because copying is low-hanging fruit and they know the correct way to pull it off without getting caught.
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