The Honeymoon is Over: Evaluating The U.S.-China WTO Intellectual Property Complaint
Over the last two decades, the United States and the People’s Republic of China have engaged in extensive negotiations regarding China’s protection of intellectual property rights. To date, the countries have entered into at least four substantive agreements detailing China’s commitments and obligations to enforce intellectual property rights (IPRs). Unfortunately, these commitments have not led to significant improvement in China’s enforcement of rampant piracy. When, in 2001, China finally acceded to the World Trade Organization, which included the Agreement on the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), many hoped that China would effectively finally fulfill its international obligations to protect intellectual property rights. Indeed, the United States initially refrained from taking any overt action against China for the next few years. The United States signaled this honeymoon period was over in April 2007 when it filed a controversial WTO complaint against China. The complaint charges China with violating its obligations under TRIPS to provide adequate protection for and deterrence against infringing intellectual property rights.