History in the Making: The US-China IP Adjudication Conference, May 28-30, 2012, Beijing

After 3 years of planning and navigating complex political waters, a historic event finally took place in Beijing last week at China’s top university for IP law, Renmin University. Top justices, judges, lawyers, business leaders and academicians from the US and China gathered for 3 intensive days of sharing regarding intellectual property and the courts. There were over 1,000 people that attended, including numerous judges and IP thought leaders from China and the US. The number of judges from China was said to be 300, though most of the Chinese people I met were not judges but lawyers, business leaders, and students, though I did have lunch with a Chinese judge and met several in other settings during the conference.

The leaders and speakers of the conference included US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) Chief Justice Randall Rader, one of the most brilliant and influential minds in US patent law whose decisions have long been shaping US law and practice. He is a strong advocate of international collaboration and appears to have been one of the primary driving forces between this event. I was pleased to see a total of 7 Federal Circuit judges present, most visiting China for their fist time, including these 6 Circuit Judges: Raymond C. Clevenger III, Richard Linn, Timothy B. Dyk, Sharon Prost, Kimberly A. Moore, and Jimmie V. Reyna. Also playing prominent roles were Gary Locke, US Ambassador to China; David Kappos, Director of the US Patent and Trademark Office; Mark Cohen, the USPTO’s former Attaché to the US Embassy in Beijing; Steven C. Lambert, President, Federal Circuit Bar Association; and many others. Mark Cohen wowed the crowd by delivering his speech in fluent Mandarin, though his rather erudite citations of Chinese poetry and classics sometimes challenged the gifted translators who made this bilingual conference accessible to everyone present.

On the Chinese side, we were elated to have active participation by Chief Judge Kong Xiangjun, IPR Tribunal of the Supreme People’s Court. Also from the IPR Tribunal of the Supreme People’s Court were Deputy Chief Judge Jin Kesheng, Supervisory Attaché Zhang Shengzu, Presiding Judge Yu Xiaobai, Presiding Judge Wang Yongchang, Presiding Judge Xia Junli, and Judge Zhu Li. These judges, with the 7 from the US Federal Circuit, were part of an “en banc” panel discussing US and China law and IP adjudication. Fascinating! Also representing China was Chong Quan, Deputy Deputy China International Trade Representative and a leader of MOFCOM (China Ministry of Commerce).

In addition to many keynote speeches and panel discussions, there were also breakout sessions on such topics such as trademark law, patent litigation, pharmaceutical patent adjudication, and copyright law. Definitely one of the most interesting and information-packed IP conferences I’ve ever attended.

For many, the highlight may have been the afternoon of mock trials in which the same case was presented in an appeal to the US Federal Circuit and to the IPR Tribunal of the People’s Supreme Court of China. Judge Rader lead the 3-judge panel for the US mock trial. The mock trials allowed representatives of both nations to quickly grasp important differences in procedure, though both courts came to essentially the same conclusion in a genuinely interesting real case involving an advance in safety equipment for a circular saw. Following the trials, there was further exchange between the judges of both countries as they discussed their different systems and what they had learned from one another. What a tremendous learning experience and example of meaningful international cooperation.

The rapidity of China’s progress in IP law and adjudication has been breathtaking, in spite of the many complaints made by voices in the West, and the obvious need for further improvements. But from a historical perspective, to go from virtually no IP law in the early 1980s to a world-class system that is leading the world in patent filing now, with the ability of foreign plaintiffs to win against Chinese companies in Chinese courts, represents massive progress worthy of respect. Exchanges like this recent one in Beijing will influence the thought leaders of both nations to further learn from each other and strengthen our approaches to IP law. Many thanks to all those who made this monumental event possible.

In the closing session, I was able to ask a question to the panelists about what future impact they anticipated might come from this exchange. Chief Judge Kong kindly fielded that question and spoke eloquently of the growth of IP law in China and the rich opportunity they had to draw from the US experience and strengthen their system. There is no doubt in my mind that China is rapidly learning and growing and a visionary eye toward the future. I hope the US can keep up and remain a worthy partner and competitor!

Below are some photos of the event that I took.

Related resources: David Kappos’ blog, “China as an IP Stakeholder.”
 

Liu Yang, Exec. VP of the China Law Society, introduces speakers in the first session.  Also visible are Mark Cohen (USPTO), Chong Quan (MOFCOM), David Kappos (USPTO), and Shen De Yong (VP of the Supreme People's Court).

Liu Yang, Exec. VP of the China Law Society, introduces speakers in the first session. Also visible are Mark Cohen (USPTO), Chong Quan (MOFCOM), David Kappos (USPTO), and Shen De Yong (VP of the Supreme People's Court).

First panel.

First session. Left to right: David Kappos (USPTO), Shen Deyong (VP Supreme People's Court), Chief Judge Randall Rader (US CAFC), Chen Jiping (Executive VP, China Law Society), US Ambassador Gary Locke, and Chen Yulu (President, Renmin University).

Judge Rader

Chief Judge Randall Rader is one of the rock stars of IP--literally. I asked him if he was going to perform for us in the evening but sadly, he informed me that he had left his band behind in the US for this event. I took the opportunity to compliment Judge Rader on setting a great example by being visibly active in areas other than his profession alone. His pursuit of rock music with a real band, even while in the judiciary, is one of many attributes that makes Judge Rader one of the more interesting and likable people in IP law. His passion for China is also part of the Rader equation. Many thanks for making this historic event happen!

Jeff Lindsay in front of the Ming De complex at Renmin University where the Adjudication Conference was held.

David Kappos, head of the US Patent and Trademark Office, speaks. His support for this event was crucial and much appreciated.

Gary Locke, US Ambassador to China.

Gary Locke, US Ambassador to China.

Richard Rainey, Executive Counsel, IP Litigation, General Electric.

Richard Rainey, Executive Counsel, IP Litigation, General Electric.

By |June 3rd, 2012|Categories: China, Innovation, Patent law, Politics, Products, Relationships, Society||Comments Off

George Washington’s Farewell Address: Useful Resource

The Rhetoric of George Washington’s Farewell Address” by Halford Ryan (Speaker and Gavel, 2001) is a valuable essay on George Washington’s famous speech that helps provide insight into what he meant and where he borrowed ideas from others. I find it especially helpful for better understanding the origins of his neutrality policies and his warnings against being entangled in international (European) affairs. This speech is unique in being legislatively required to be read to both houses of Congress each year, though the House of Representatives abandoned this duty (like so many others!) in 1984. It is still read in the Senate.

Imagine how much more secure our nation would be if we had continued to heed the warnings of George Washington.

By |December 25th, 2006|Categories: Politics||Comments Off

Missile Defense: Isn’t It Time to Be More Aggressive?

Missile defense ought to be on everyone’s mind these days as rogue nations like North Korea develop nuclear weapons and missile programs. They don’t have missiles that can reach the United States – yet – but surely that will come next. But China, the real ally and builder of North Korea, already has that technology and has nuclear missiles that at least used to be pointed at the United States.

If our politicians really want to protect the United States, there are three things needed. One, seal our borders so terrorists can’t simply walk across and bring a dirty bomb into the United States. Second, build a powerful missile defense program to provide a strengthened defense system against nuclear missiles. And third, quit providing financial and technological support to nations that have weapons aimed at us or that provide help and support to nations like North Korea. Nations that help our enemies should not be getting our money. Any questions?

For insight into some of the issues around missile defense, see “Countering North Korea’s Missiles: The Missile Defense System the U.S. Should Have” by Baker , June 2006. It argues persuasively that it’s long past time for Congress to support an improved missile defense system for dealing with ICBMs, such as the foolishly abandoned 1991 Global Protection Against Limited Strikes (GPALS) missile defense plan. We have the technology. What we need are politicians who care more about defending America than they care about keeping our global “partners” happy.

By |October 26th, 2006|Categories: Politics||Comments Off

Economic Slowdown = Decreased Tax Revenues, Accelerating Debt

A valuable and no-nonsense source of analysis on the economy is JS Mineset. Author Jim Sinclair’s commentary on inflation, debt, finances, mortgages, investing, and especially precious metals offers a savvy look at what most investors are gleefully ignoring. Most recently, he has exposed the foolishness of the media/government/Wall Street spin about the “Goldilocks economy.” What we are facing is much more painful and serious than the spin-masters would have us believe, but there are things you can do – or must do! – now to prepare yourself. Buying more stocks like Ford and General Motors is not the answer.

By |September 3rd, 2006|Categories: Investing, Politics||Comments Off

Another Opportunity for Lost Sovereignty?

Have you even heard about the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America? Very few Americans noticed this major initiative of the Bush Administration that was created without a vote of Congress. In fact, relatives of mine in Utah contacted the offices of their Senators to ask what they knew of it, and neither office had apparently heard of this either.  But there it is, a new international effort aimed at bringing Mexico, Canada, and the US together in the name of enhanced security and economic development. The kind of security this promotes is NOT the kind that most Americans think about, such as the security of actually protecting our borders in a time of war. Think more open borders. Think more power given to unelected officials without the bests interests of the United States in mind. Mmm, sweet security, here it comes.

By |August 6th, 2006|Categories: Politics||Comments Off

Anger in America

Why Are Americans so Angry?” by Rep. Ron Paul of Texas raises solid questions about the disappointment and anger of many Americans over what is happening in Iraq. Here is an excerpt:

Some of the strongest supporters of the war declare that we are a Christian nation, yet use their religious beliefs to justify the war. They claim it is our Christian duty to remake the Middle East and attack the Muslim infidels. Evidently I have been reading from a different Bible. I remember something about “Blessed are the peacemakers.”

My beliefs aside, Christian teaching of nearly a thousand years reinforces the concept of “The Just War Theory.” This Christian theory emphasizes six criteria needed to justify Christian participation in war. Briefly the six points are as follows:

  1. War should be fought only in self defense;
  2. War should be undertaken only as a last resort;
  3. A decision to enter war should be made only by a legitimate authority;
  4. All military responses must be proportional to the threat;
  5. There must be a reasonable chance of success; and
  6. A public declaration notifying all parties concerned is required.

The war in Iraq fails to meet almost all of these requirements. This discrepancy has generated anger and division within the Christian community.

Some are angry because the war is being fought out of Christian duty, yet does not have uniform support from all Christians. Others are angry because they see Christianity as a religion as peace and forgiveness, not war and annihilation of enemies.

Constitutional and moral restraints on war should be strictly followed. It is understandable when kings, dictators, and tyrants take their people into war, since it serves their selfish interests– and those sent to fight have no say in the matter. It is more difficult to understand why democracies and democratic legislative bodies, which have a say over the issue of war, so readily submit to the executive branch of government. The determined effort of the authors of our Constitution to firmly place the power to declare war in the legislative branch has been ignored in the decades following WWII.

By |July 7th, 2006|Categories: Politics||Comments Off

Bush Threatens North Korea with Financial Payloads

President Bush issued a stern warning to North Korea today in response to the missile crisies, a warning that is expected to bring the North Koreans to the negotiating table:

“The United States is prepared to retaliate against North Korea with the full force of the United States Treasury. If North Korea will not abandon their missiles, then we are prepared to conduct precision bombing operations to deliver massive payloads of cash to enemy targets.

By |July 5th, 2006|Categories: Politics, Satire||Comments Off