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US Official Says Chinese Counterfeiters Stay Ahead of Law


The top U.S. official in charge of protecting intellectual property rights says Chinese counterfeiters are often one step ahead of China's intellectual property rights enforcement agencies. Daniel Schearf reports from Beijing.

U.S. Under-Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property Jon Dudas says cooperation between China and the United States on protecting intellectual property rights has increased dramatically.

But Dudas says so has the ability of Chinese pirates to steal others' ideas and innovations without paying proper compensation.

"What I see getting worse is that it seems that often - and this is true throughout the world but particularly in China - that the pirates and counterfeiters are often ahead of the curve. And in some ways they can beat the system faster than the system can change," he said.

Dudas, who is also director of the U.S. Patent and Trade Office, was in Beijing for a two-day international forum on protecting intellectual property rights, the first of its kind hosted by China.

The forum brought together hundreds of officials, industry representatives and experts from around the world to discuss ways to increase cooperation on protecting inventors and companies from rampant piracy.

Dudas said it is in every country's interest, developing or developed, to protect intellectual property rights.

"I believe a nation that does not give the highest level protection for intellectual property for the highest of technologies will consistently be a source of only second-class technology," he said. "No one will want to bring their top technology to a nation that does not protect it."

Dudas says the United States has the highest level of innovation in the world, because inventors know their products will be legally protected in America.

China is generally considered to be the biggest violator of intellectual property rights in the world. Pirated videos, music discs and software, along with counterfeit brand name clothing, are openly sold on the streets and in stores throughout China. Chinese fakes also show up in other countries.

U.S. Customs statistics show that in 2006, 81 percent of counterfeit and pirated goods seized in the United States came from China.