General Motors claims that a rival Chinese auto maker has infringed it’s intellectual property rights by stealing the design of a small car. But there seems to be a flaw in the GM claim. bq. … the Spark design, which GM obtained in its 2002 acquisition of South Korea’s former Daewoo Motor Sales Corp., was never patented in China and thus isn’t protected by China’s intellectual property laws, said Zhang Qin, deputy commissioner of the State Intellectual Property Office. (“AP via Miami Herald”:http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/breaking_news/9595409.htm) IP is territorially based: in China, in the USA, everywhere. So if the Chinese Minister is right, GM hasn’t much of a legal case on patents. Of course… it may have a case on other aspects of the protection of industrial designs (the look of the car), depending on whether those were registered.
Peter Gallagher is student of piano and photography. He was formerly a senior trade official of the Australian government. For some years after leaving government, he consulted to international organizations, governments and business groups on trade and public policy.
He teaches graduate classes at the University of Adelaide on trade research methods and the role of firms in trade and growth and tweets trade (and other) stuff from @pwgallagher