Janelle Waack | Intellectual Property | Bass, Berry & SimsIn a Design News article, Bass, Berry & Sims attorney Janelle Waack provided insight on President Trump’s recent executive memorandum that may catalyze an investigation into China’s alleged intellectual property (IP) theft. This order is an attempt to help reduce the annual cost of IP theft to the U.S and provides insight on how the Trump administration plans to combat the issue. “The Trump administration is taking a strong move to protect American IP. This is coming from campaign promises,” said Janelle. “The administration has asked the U.S. Trade Representative to consider infringement and theft that undermine U.S. innovation.”

Many U.S. companies claim China’s efforts to prevent infringement have been ineffective. “China has taken steps to improve its IP system and enforce IP rights. However, it’s still considered a significant problem,” explained Janelle. “The IP commission report estimates the impact on the U.S. economy from trade secrets is at least $225 billion and could be as high as $600 billion.”

This initiative may be a long process, but could also bring forth some consequences for China. “This is the first step toward conducting an investigation. It may take a year to complete,” noted Janelle. “One of the most interesting things to consider is whether this could lead to action under 301 of the U.S. Trade Act of 1974. That would lead to tariffs on goods imported to the U.S. But we’re not there yet.”

Shortly after the executive order was announced, China spoke on the issue. “They recognized a government should put the interests of its people first, but economies work on an interrelated system, and China would not support the U.S. going forward with 301. China does not want the U.S. imposing restrictions on its trade practices,” explained Janelle.

The full article, “Trump Calls for an Investigation into China’s IP Theft,” was published by Design News on September 28, 2017, and is available online.