Is It Time to Stop Doing Business with China?
Chinese Theft of Intellectual Property
China is notorious for stealing the designs and manufacturing hundreds of patented and copyright products and selling them all over the world, including in this country. Among them: Callaway Big Bertha golf clubs, Ikea furniture, Chivas Regal and Johnnie Walker Scotch whiskey, Italian and French wine, luggage, designer clothes, Honda motorcycles, Sony PlayStation games, Cisco Systems router interface cards, even Mitsubishi elevators! Target stores here have been accused of selling bogus Coach bags and two weeks ago, Wal-Mart settled with Fendi for selling counterfeit handbags for up to $525 each.
What’s more, these thieves get off lightly. In March 2005, a Chinese factory was raided and 32,980 counterfeit Zippo lighters were discovered. The factory manager, Zheng Shengfen, was taken to court and the judge fined him $12,500 with no jail sentence.
Quite simply, if you create any kind of desirable product here or abroad, expect to be ripped off by the Chinese. A sampling from my files:
• Films: It is estimated that 90% or more of Hollywood blockbuster movies on DVDs available throughout China and Southeast Asia on city street corners and shops are illegal copies. In 2005 the Motion Picture Association of America estimated that losses to the American film industry amount to $2,689,000,000 annually. For example, on a Thursday in 2005, “Star Wars: Episode III—Revenge of the Sith” opened all across China; pirated disks were being offered everywhere by the following Sunday.
• CDs: According to Tim Phillips, author of “Knockoff: The Deadly Trade in Counterfeit Goods,” one out of every three CDs and DVDs sold in the world is a counterfeit and the hub of this thievery is China.
• Books: In 2007, the Association of American Publishers estimated that Chinese piracy of books cost American publishers $52 million. “An unauthorized Chinese version of ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince’ was on sale Sunday in Beijing,” wrote Howard W. French in The New York Times, “just two weeks after the book appeared in English and almost three months ahead of the planned October launch of the official Chinese-language edition.”