In a move that would have broad implications for software, movies, music and pharmaceuticals, the U.S. said Thursday it may sue China as early as this fall for failing to protect intellectual property as required by trade agreements.
The U.S. would bring a trade case against China at the World Trade Organization for violating intellectual-property rights [IPR] protections, a U.S. trade official said at a Seattle conference. If China failed to comply, the U.S. could be allowed to put tariffs on goods it imports from China.
“We are discussing some WTO-related IPR concerns” with Chinese officials, said Timothy Stratford, assistant U.S. trade representative for China. “If those are not resolved by fall, it’s quite possible that we would have an IPR case.”
Discussions with China are focused on “very discrete issues,” regarding enforcement, Stratford said, declining to elaborate. “But they would have a broad impact” across the spectrum of intellectual property, from movies and music to software and patented drugs.