BEIJING — In Chinese schools, students learn that the United States became a great nation partly by stealing technology from Britain. In the halls of government, officials speak of the need to inspire innovation by protecting inventions. In boardrooms, executives strategize about using infringement laws to fell foreign rivals.
China is often portrayed as a land of fake gadgets and pirated software, where intellectual property like patents, trademarks and copyrights are routinely ignored. The reality is more complex.
China takes conflicting positions on intellectual property, ignoring it in some cases while upholding it in others. Underlying those contradictions is a long-held view of intellectual property not as a rigid legal principle but as a tool to meet the country’s goals.
Those goals are getting more ambitious. China is now gathering know-how in industries of the future like microchips and electric cars , often by pushing foreign companies attracted by the country’s vast market into sharing their technology. It is also toughening enforcement of patents and trademarks for a day when it can become a leader in those technologies — and use intellectual property protections to defend its position against rival economies.
President Xi Jinping is in the midst of an effort to strengthen laws on patents, copyrights and trademarks, giving fledgling firms in China new sources of revenue and prestige. The country is also pursuing an ambitious plan, called Made in China 2025 , to become a global leader in areas like robotics and medical technology and kick off the next phase of China’s development. The efforts reflect the view of Chinese officials that controlling global technologies and standards is on par with building military muscle.
Zhang Ping, a scholar of trade law at Peking University in Beijing, said the West had long used intellectual property laws as a “spear and shield” against Chinese companies, hurting their profits at home and blocking access to foreign markets. Now, she said, it is time for China to fight back.
“If you want to enter our market to cooperate, it’s fine,” Ms. Zhang said, “but you can’t grab us by the neck and not let us grow.”
Trademarks and patents protect companies and inventors, compensating them for their time, ideas and investment. While poorer countries have throughout history worked to obtain inventions from wealthier nations, sometimes running afoul of intellectual property laws, China has rewritten the playbook for acquiring advanced technology.
Since Deng Xiaoping, as leader, opened the Chinese economy to the outside world nearly four decades ago, the country has made it a priority to obtain ideas and inspiration from overseas.
Sometimes it has reverse-engineered what it wants. United States officials say that Chinese companies have also carried out extensive economic espionage through cyberattacks and other means . (Chinese officials have denied those charges.) More recently, China has used its growing wealth to buy into cutting-edge technologies, like genetically modified crops and the latest innovations from American start-ups , and to attract promising talent .
But since those early days, China has relied heavily on one tried-and-true method: forming joint ventures with foreign partners. Big-name companies like I.B.M. and Qualcomm are required to share advanced technology and research with domestic firms in order to set up shop in China. And to entice partners, the country offers access to its enormous market and hundreds of millions of consumers.
Joint ventures helped China build whole industries from scratch. After using them to explore high-speed rail technology, Chinese firms now dominate the global industry.
Chinese experts say those moves are simply smart deal-making, not violations of intellectual property laws, allowing the country to harness its leverage as the world’s second largest economy to win practical knowledge.
But now China’s efforts are moving beyond routine manufacturing into cutting-edge technologies — and the Trump administration has denounced the arrangements as coercive.
In April, the Office of the United States Trade Representative accused China of “ widespread infringing activity ,” including stealing trade secrets, tolerating rampant online piracy and exporting counterfeit goods. On Monday, President Trump signed a memo that authorized an investigation into theft and the forced transfer of technology by China from American firms. But he mentioned China by name only once.
The Chinese Ministry of Commerce said Tuesday that it would defend China’s interests if they appeared to be threatened by the investigation.
“China will absolutely not sit by and watch, will inevitably adopt all appropriate measures, and resolutely safeguard China’s lawful rights,” the ministry said in a statement.
Chinese commentators see hypocrisy in American criticism, noting that the United States was once one of the world’s leading pirates, when it worked to challenge British industrial dominance after the American Revolution by obtaining designs for inventions like steam-powered looms. The state-run news media has highlighted the case of Samuel Slater, often called the father of the American industrial revolution, who brought British textile designs to the United States in the late 1700s.
Still, as China comes up with its own innovations, the country’s leaders are embracing stricter laws on patents, copyrights and trademarks.
The government has created specialized courts to handle intellectual property disputes and awarded subsidies to entrepreneurs who file patent applications. In 2015, more than a million were filed, a record amount.
Li Jian, a vice president of Beijing East IP, a Chinese law firm, said mainland companies increasingly saw strong intellectual property protections as a tool to help protect inventions and earn royalties overseas.
“Many Chinese companies have realized that through patent protection they can gain an advantage in the market,” Mr. Li said. “They have more faith now in the Chinese government to protect their intellectual property.”
The rules have also benefited some foreign firms. New Balance won a landmark case this year against a Chinese company that used its signature slanting “N” logo. China’s highest court last year gave Michael Jordan the rights to Chinese characters of his name.
Enforcement is still inconsistent, experts say. Local officials are often reluctant to aid foreign companies, worried about jeopardizing tax revenues from homegrown companies.
The Made in China 2025 initiative is a key reason the country is improving intellectual property rights. The plan focuses on sectors like electric cars, robotics, semiconductors and artificial intelligence.
By forcing foreign companies to hand over more technology and encouraging local companies to make new products based on that technology, Chinese leaders hope to cement the country’s dominance in critical fields. They also see an opportunity to dictate the terms of the future development of technology and extract licensing fees from foreign firms that use Chinese-made technology.
Several trade organizations and governments have said the plan is protectionist . Some have called for reciprocity, arguing that the United States should impose on Chinese companies the same restrictions China places on foreign companies.
“There is an unmistakable national policy to boost the position of Chinese companies in cutting-edge areas,” said William P. Alford, a Harvard law professor and an expert on Chinese intellectual property laws.
Chinese experts have defended the strategy.
“To become an adult, you have to accumulate knowledge,” said Professor Zhang, of Peking University. “It’s the same for a country.”
As China’s power has grown, Chinese companies have started using intellectual property laws to fend off foreign rivals.
When the United States International Trade Commission last year began investigating Chic Intelligent Technology Company, a manufacturer of self-balancing scooters based in the eastern city of Hangzhou, the company’s executives fought back. The commission was looking into claims that Chic had copied product designs of a California-based competitor, Razor USA.
Chic filed retaliatory lawsuits against American competitors, adopting many of the tactics that American companies have used for years to hobble Chinese competitors. The trade commission has since declined to ban imports of the Chic scooters. The lawsuit against Razor USA remains unresolved, according to Chic.
Chic made clear that it saw the investigation as an effort by the United States to use intellectual property laws to bully Chinese companies. In a statement , the company’s leaders compared American regulators to Japanese invaders during World War II.
“The crazier the enemy,” the statement said, “the more we need to prove the necessity of our siege.”
By Javier C. Hernández
The 5G-powered enterprise will be less constrained by its physical location thanks to vastly improved service delivery capabilities that improve employee and customer engagement. The next generation of wireless technology is closer than you think.
Over the past few years, a coalition of companies, industry associations and regulatory bodies from across the globe have been working together to advance the regulatory environment, develop and test 5G technologies and establish a broad ecosystem around infrastructure and device readiness.
In 2016, we saw massive progress in the development of key components like antennas and radio chipsets. Additionally, we’ve seen the validation of core mobility technologies – including handovers and multi-cell networking – and witnessed demonstrations of multi-Gbps data rates and low-latency performance. These innovations have brought us closer to a faster, more reliable, and more capable wireless future.
When that future arrives, 5G capabilities will revolutionize our wireless networks. Mobile users will experience networks an order of magnitude faster than what we have today. Thanks to sub-millisecond air latency, the network will feel instantly responsive while simultaneously supporting ten times as many devices at significantly lower power consumption profiles. These are the foundational requirements to enable the rapidly growing Internet of Things (IoT).
As we demonstrate more of the technical innovations of 5G networks, we see more implications for business. We know that next-generation 5G networks will transform companies across industries and geographies. The 5G-powered enterprise will be far less constrained by its physical office location, thanks to vastly improved service delivery capabilities that improve employee and customer engagement through enhanced business communications, new services, and IoT. It all leads to businesses that are more robust, more integrated, and more productive.
Alok Shah, Vice President, Strategy, Business Development, and Marketing, Samsung Networks
It’s happened to all of us at one time or another, you try to check out at a store and you are you are met with an, I’m so sorry; our system is down. Any way you can pay in cash? Or another common scenario, you are calling a business regarding some incorrect charges on your account and the unfortunate reply you hear is: We cannot view your account at the moment; our systems are not cooperating with us. Now flip over to the business owner’s vantage point and imagine the thoughts going through their heads. Having downtime/network failures will cause at least one of the following backlashes:
Loss of potential revenue
According to a survey done by creditcards.com, about 78% of consumers prefer to use debit/credit cards, whereas 9% prefer cash. When your network is down you can possibly lose about 78% of consumers who would prefer to use their credit cards. This doesn’t even include those that would prefer to use gift cards, store credit cards, and other methods of payments.
Employees will have to manually phone/input every credit card transaction
Phoning in every credit card transaction can result in a long wait and leave the customers with a very inconvenient feeling, to put it nicely. This can cause distrust between your business and the consumer. Unhappy customers want to voice their frustrations and they have a platform on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and let’s not forget the ever important Yelp. Some customers may just lament their disappointment but others may never return.
If your employees have jobs that require the network to be fully functional at all at times, then an outage would be a management nightmare. For others, employees are being paid to wait for the network to be restored.
If your business is not properly prepared for the impact of a network failure then you will have to pay to get it repaired. The cost to repair such outages could range from the hundreds to the thousands of dollars. Not being prepared to handle network failures could be costly.
Network outages are going to happen and can have a huge impact to your business which can inevitably, damage your brand. There is a simple way to mitigate this risk. First Communications is now offering 4G LTE Failover as a premise based solution that uses routing intelligence between the primary connectivity router and the cellular based failover device. This routing intelligence allows the device to detect when the primary connection is no longer working and automatically re-routes pre-defined critical business traffic to the 4G LTE connection. With these services, you can stay connected to your mission critical applications, have a reliable back up, and continue to serve your customers. First Communications offers this as a way to protect your most important assets and most importantly, your brand.
By our partner company:
First Communications / Firstcomm.com / Tony Davis
Rising demand for advanced bandwidth requirements has contributed in being a major driver for the growth of global optical interconnect market. Bandwidth capacity needs to be increased along with reduced power consumption within data center networks which has increased the demand for efficient interconnects. These functions are not available with traditional interconnects which are copper based thus further enhancing the utility and in turn the demand for optical interconnect market globally. Other than this, there has been a rise in network traffic which has resulted in higher demand for optical interconnect devices for sustaining in future along with other web applications in cloud computing pushing the growth of global optical interconnect market. In addition to this, currently it is seen that data center networks require high power for managing its services which is where fibre optics are used thereby increasing the application of optical interconnect technologies as well as positively driving the demand for optical interconnect market. Network connections in long distance traffic has been a major restraint for the global optical interconnect market. Loss at high frequencies in electrical lines and fibre optic cables is quite high which has to some extent reduced the growth of optical interconnect devices and technology. Cost is another important determinant having a major effect in the global optical interconnect market. High costs are generally associated with application of optical interconnect technologies which has negatively affected commercialization of this technology and all these factors have acted as major restraints for this market. Optical interconnect technologies has growing applications in automation sector for handling network tasks previously done manually which has huge growth opportunities in future helping the global optical interconnect market to grow.
Geographically, it is North America which holds the major market share in the global optical interconnect market. Huge internet penetration resulting in higher usage of data center networks has formed a major reason for the growth of optical interconnect market which are extensively used for managing networks. In addition to this, presence of huge internet based business like Facebook and Google among others have been a major growth driver for optical internet market in North America. Asia Pacific has been the fastest growing market for the optical interconnect market. Growing internet penetration along with rising technological advancement has been the major factors driving the growth of optical interconnect market in Asia Pacific with China, Japan, South Korea and India being the major growing countries.
Some of the major players operating in the Optical Interconnect market include Furukawa OFS (Japan), 3M Company (U.S.), Acacia Communication (U.S.), Finisar (U.S.), Oclaro Inc. (U.S.), Dow Corning (U.S.), Huawei (China), Intel (US), Infineon Technologies (US) and Mellanox (U.S.) among others which are present in the market globally.Transparency Market Research
Now that Apple has pronounced the end of the headphone jack, the company is aiming to prove that it can do better than the existing wireless options.
At its much-hyped event in San Francisco on Wednesday, the iPhone maker introduced a cordless earbud that it claims is more power efficient than Bluetooth devices. AirPods, as they're called, have their own communications chip, Apple's Senior Vice President Phil Schiller said on stage.
"It makes no sense to tether ourselves with cables to our mobile devices," Schiller said. "Until someone takes on these challenges, that's what we'll do."
The iPhone 7 will be the first smartphone without a headphone jack, marking Apple's latest effort to strip hardware from devices. There are plenty of Bluetooth options on the market, including from Apple's Beats business, but the products have been criticized for their high price and spotty quality.
Apple is betting that improvements in computing power and wireless communications will usher in a new era of cordless gadgetry. Apple's AirPods include double tap access to Siri and five hours of listening on a single charge, the company said.
Published by CNBC