The courts award damages of $. Oooh. Now there’s a deterrent.
All of these major international brands actually GET someone in law enforcement in China to gather evidence. They hire lawyers. They go to court. They spend legal fees, valuable management time, and use their ultimate weapon – the courts – to get the most notorious purveyors of knockoffs in the city to cease, desist, and pay damages.
And they get $.
As Philip Lin at Pacific Epoch points out, the fake goods are still available, but they’re just stuck in the back room.
Philip asks, not facetiously, I think, whether this case and Starbucks’ victory in Shanghai marks the beginning of a new era in IPR protection in China.
I’d say no. Until there is a demonstrable, long-term trend of these verdicts with pirates and counterfeiters having to shut their doors, their goods burned, their bosses packed off to prisons, and any officials that covered for them reprimanded or sacked, this is ought more than window dressing for China at the WTO.
But a much less noticed case holds the promise of greater things.
China Telecom’s broadband portal ChinaVnet has been sued for by a local film company, Ci Wen Films, for copyright infringement for running Tsui Hark’s film Seven Swords on the Internet without permission. Frankly, this is the case to watch. Intellectual property protection will become a national priority in China when local companies begin losing their shirts to counterfeiters and pirates.