COPYRIGHT IN CHINA
Behind The AMSC/Sinovel Dispute: A Look At IP Law In The U.S. Vs. China
Tim Smith, Jill McWhirter, Bryan Adams, 18 October 2011 (North American Windpower)
"…AMSC has brought suit against Sinovel in the Chinese court system (specifically, before the Beijing Arbitration Commission), alleging that Sinovel violated AMSC's copyright and trade-secret rights by misappropriating software developed by AMSC…AMSC is attempting to control and protect its software by utilizing the tools of protection granted by [intellectual property, IP] law…
"A copyright protects ‘original works of authorship’ that are fixed in a tangible form of expression. In the context of software, a copyright may apply to source code, object code and user interfaces…A trade secret is proprietary, confidential information used to provide an economic or competitive advantage…[I]f a competitor fairly and lawfully gains access to a trade secret, the individual or company maintaining the trade secret may have no legal recourse…"
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"China provides copyright protection for many types of written works, including computer software. For the most part, China’s copyright statutes resemble those in the U.S…Legislation specific to software protection was enacted in 2001…If a violation of a trade secret under the Unfair Competition Law is found, the penalties may include fines, confiscation of illegal income, revocation of the party’s license to operate, an injunction ordering the party to cease the illegal act, and/or imprisonment…
"Although both China and the U.S. have similar laws and processes designed to protect copyrights and trade secrets, the differences rest in the enforcement of these laws, as well as the governmental nature of each country…[There is a] perception that Chinese courts would tend to favor Chinese companies over U.S. companies in such disputes…The dispute between the two companies has cast IP infringement into the limelight, and the case may set a precedent for the enforcement of IP rights by U.S. companies doing business in China."