Dec 4, 2018

China says it will apply punishments for intellectual property theft

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Chinese government announced Tuesday that it would implement a total of 38 different punishments for companies that engage in intellectual property theft, an issue that has long been a source of headaches in U.S.-China trade negotiations, Bloomberg reports.

The big picture: IP theft by Chinese companies poses a threat to both national security and American companies' ability to turn profits, currently costing between $225 billion and $600 billion annually, according to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. The Chinese government says violators would be restricted from receiving financial support from the government and designated in various databases, including a registry that could be accessed by foreign lenders.

What they're saying: In its press release, the Chinese government wrote, "The release of the memo, one of the most detailed documents on intellectual protection issued by China, signals a further step by China to strengthen IPR protection and shows China's sincerity in addressing American concern over the issue. It could be useful as part of the U.S.-China trade discussions, but this is not a direct reaction to pressure from the U.S."

Our thought bubble, via Axios contributor Bill Bishop: It sounds like for the responsible legal persons and managers of corporate entities, not individuals, these penalties could be significant if fully implemented. Questions remain whether the penalties also apply to platforms like those run by Alibaba and that have continuing issues with sales of counterfeit goods.

Worth noting: As recently as last month, the Chinese government has denied that IP theft even takes place. Much of Chinese companies' malign activities are also state-backed, raising the question of whether the government is serious about putting an end to a practice that they themselves engage in.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10:30 a.m. ET: 1,363,365— Total deaths: 76,420 — Total recoveries: 292,425Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10:30 a.m. ET: 368,533 — Total deaths: 11,008 — Total recoveries: 19,972Map.
  3. Trump administration latest: Peter Navarro warned White House colleagues in late January about the massive potential risks from the coronavirus.
  4. Public health update: Funeral homes are struggling to handle the pandemic.
  5. 2020 update: Wisconsin Supreme Court blocks the governor's attempt to delay in-person primary voting until June.
  6. Tech update: YouTube has removed thousands of COVID-19 videos for violating policies related to spreading medical misinformation.
  7. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal health. Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Stephanie Grisham out as White House press secretary

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham is departing her post to return to the East Wing as First Lady Melania Trump's chief of staff, the White House announced Tuesday. The news was first reported by CNN.

Why it matters: Grisham will leave after nine months without ever having held a formal press briefing. Her departure follows the arrival of new White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, who has a chance to overhaul a communications shop that's kept a low profile since President Trump ended the tradition of daily press secretary briefings.

WeWork board sues SoftBank

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

SoftBank was sued Tuesday morning by a special committee of WeWork's board of directors for alleged breaches of contract and fiduciary duty related to SoftBank's decision to cancel a $3 billion tender offer for WeWork shares.

Why it matters: SoftBank is viewed by many in the private markets as an unfaithful partner. If this reaches trial, that reputation could either become widely cemented or reversed.