The US–China trade deal signed on January 15 aims to strengthen intellectual property protection for US intellectual property holders.
The deal increases the scope of actors liable for trade secret misappropriation to include all natural persons, groups of persons, and legal persons. The deal also enumerates additional acts constituting trade secret misappropriation, such as electronic intrusions and a breach or inducement of a breach of duty not to disclose information that is secret or intended to be kept secret. To further strengthen the protection of trade secrets, the deal provides that “China shall prohibit the unauthorized disclosure of undisclosed information, trade secrets, or confidential business information by government personnel or third party experts or advisors in any criminal, civil, administrative, or regulatory proceedings conducted at either the central or sub-central levels of government in which such information is submitted.”
The deal provides for patent term extensions for unreasonable delays that occur in granting the patent or during pharmaceutical product marketing approvals.
The deal also addresses online infringement and piracy and counterfeiting on online platforms, and includes notice and takedown provisions similar to the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act. China is also required to provide that ecommerce platforms have their operating licenses revoked for repeated failures to curb the sale of counterfeit or pirated goods.
A number of requirements for China regarding the manufacture and export of pirated goods, including enforcement actions against counterfeit medicines, destruction of counterfeit goods, border enforcement actions, and enforcement of physical markets, are also included in the deal.
China has 30 days after the effective date of the deal agreement to create and action a plan to strengthen intellectual property protection.
Notably, while the agreement addresses tariffs on some tech gear, it does not address tariffs on numerous additional products that currently affect the economics of the tech industry.