China calls U.S. politicizing IP disputes 'ridiculous'

Responding to U.S. plans to investigate Chinese telecom equipment makers, China's State Intellectual Property Office says vendors should resolve IP disputes legally and adds that Huawei and ZTE's IPs are on par with their Western counterparts.
Written by Ellyne Phneah, Contributor
Tian Lipu, China's State Intellectual Property Office commissioner said, "Intellectual property right is a private right, and we oppose its politicization,"

China has voiced its displeasure with the United States over what it describes as "ridiculous" politicizing of IP disputes concerning Chinese telecom equipment makers, Huawei and ZTE.

Tian Lipu, commissioner of the country's State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO), said in a Xinhua News Agency report Sunday: "IP right is a private right and we oppose its politicization.

"It is a little ridiculous for the U.S. to penalize Chinese companies with intellectual properties. It reflects the anxiety and irrationality of some people. I hope they can change such practices, " Tian said.

Businesses should be allowed to resolve IP disputes themselves through legal and judicial means, he noted, adding that public policies should take social impacts into account.

Tian was referring to the probe initiated by the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) in January to investigate Huawei, ZTE, Samsung and Nokia for patent infringement in their 3G or 4G wireless devices. Filed by InterDigital Communications, the complaint alleged certain devices by the companies infringed upon its patents and requested a ban on the devices.

According to the Xinhua report, the USITC will set a target date for completing the investigations within 45 days. Should the complaint be approved, the panel will issue remedial orders such as a ban on the import of products manufactured by the Chinese vendors. Huawei and ZTE have denied the patent claims and said they would actively fight the suit.

Chinese IPs on par with the West
Tian said Huawei Technologies and ZTE were leading property owners in the global IT market and main applicants of the world's Patent Cooperation Treaty. "They are on par with any western multinational corporation in the quantity and quality of owned intellectual property," he said. "They comply with international business rules and safety rules in operations."

He also cited SIPO figures released in February which found China granted 2,734 invention patents to Huawei and 2,727 to ZTE, both of which were the biggest receivers of invention patents in the country last year.

In October 2012, the U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee also published a report alleging Huawei and ZTE posed threats to the country's national security, and urged U.S. companies to avoid buying from the Chinese telecoms equipment makers. However, in a White House review of telecommunications suppliers released in the same month, tge U.S. government found no evidence Huawei was spying on the U.S. for China.

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