US company wants White House to reconsider US-China trade relationship

by Chris Zappone

In case you missed it, a US firm that sells wind turbine design and engineering services has asked Obama to take a second look at the US trade relationship with China.

AMSC, which claims Chinese (non-cyber) theft of its intellectual property has cost it $800 million, has “called on President Barack Obama’s administration and Congress to re-evaluate the U.S. trade relationship with China.”

The US is suing China wind turbine maker Sinovel Wind Group, charging it, two of its employees and an ex-employee of AMSC with stealing trade secrets. In 2011, AMSC said it wanted to recover $1.2 billion in damages.

AMSC Chief Executive Officer Daniel McGahn said: “The fact that Sinovel has exported stolen American intellectual property
from China back into the United States – less than 40 miles from our global headquarters – shows not only a blatant
disrespect for intellectual property but a disregard for international trade law.”

These cases are important because they show the trend of US lawsuits piling up in this area. The bigger question is whether they will be effective over the longer term. Even if they aren’t, it at least shows how the grievances of US companies having their inventions and data ripped off is being etched into US court records.

Bigger question: is the law any match for the scale of this theft, especially that which occurs online?

It’s a legal-technological-diplomatic- and even cultural issue between China and the West. If legal protections on inventions cease to matter, which way does the global economy drift?