China announces new punishments for IP theft

By BLOOMBERG

BEIJING • Intellectual property (IP) theft is one of the main points of contention in China’s dispute with Washington, and just days after President Xi Jinping promised to resolve the US’ “reasonable concerns”, China has announced an array of punishments for IP theft.

The government set out a total of 38 different punishments to be applied to IP violations, starting this month. The document was released by the National Development and Reform Commission and signed by various government bodies, including the central bank and supreme court.

Last month, Beijing batted down a US accusation that China is continuing a state backed campaign of IP and technology theft, saying it was based on hearsay and ignores reality.

Violators would be: Banned from issuing bonds or other financing tools, and participating in government procurement; restricted from accessing government financial support, foreign trade, registering companies, auctioning land or trading properties; recorded on a list, and financial financial institutions will refer to that when lending or granting access to foreign exchange; and their names will be posted on a government website.

“This is an unprecedented regulation on IP violation in terms of the scope of the ministries and severity of the punishment,” said a researcher.

The newly announced punishments are “a security net of IP protection” targeting repeat offenders and those who aren’t in compliance with the law.