Billionaire inventor Sir James Dyson says that China is benefiting from his copyrights and patents from inventions like the Dyson vacuum cleaner.
He said that he has warned China that it risks being expelled from the World Trade Organization (WTO) over copyright breaches.
Dyson issued the warning as executives at the company he founded prepare to raise their concerns at an intellectual properly (IP) symposium brokered by the Chinese and British governments this week.
The inventor said that China’s reputation among foreign investors is being diminished by the flouting of product copyrights and a two-speed patent system that appears to discriminate against non-Chinese applications.
“They are running the risk of being expelled from the WTO,” he said in a statement. “They are creating an unlevel playing field by taking our technology and selling it all over the world.”
He said that China benefits from strictly monitored IP regimes outside its own border, but has failed to crack down on domestic offenders.
Dyson cited a recent incident in which his company successfully sued a firm manufacturing a copy of its bladeless electronic fan in China.
“We had to put a private detective in their factory and take photos of them making the fans. Then we won the case and they were fined $7,500 but they didn’t pay the fine and they just carried on,” he said in a statement.
Dyson is pursuing 20 design or patent cases around the world, and his business has spent $3 million on legal fees pursuing them.
He claims that the disadvantage was driven by discrepancies in the bureaucratic process of applying for patents. According to Dyson, Chinese applications take less than a year, while it can take five years for a foreign business.
“Under WTO regulations, each country is supposed to treat foreign patent applications with the same speed as local applications. But they are passing Chinese application in months and taking five years for ours.” He added: “If we have someone copying our products in China we cannot sue them until our patent is passed. This has not created a level playing field.”
Source: redOrbit (http://s.tt/14AAe