IP in Developing Economies [5:35 pm]
Massachusetts merchant Francis Cabot Lowell visited England in 1810 and memorized the design of the power looms that drove world textile production. Upon his return, he enlisted master mechanic Paul Moody to build improved versions of the spinning and weaving machines in a Waltham mill on the Charles River. Over the next several decades, the textile and machinery industries and, ultimately, the center of manufacturing migrated across the Atlantic to New England.
That scenario may be repeating itself today as US and other Western companies, drawn to China by its cheap labor and rapidly expanding market, are finding their product designs and manufacturing processes imitated, appropriated, or stolen outright by Chinese entrepreneurs — sometimes by their own joint venture partners.
[...] Michael, in an interview, said top executives should get directly involved in intellectual property disputes rather than delegating them to lawyers. This way they can head off internal conflicts over corporate objectives in China, and even shape technology standards to their advantage by conditioning investments on fair and open standards.
“This is absolutely a CEO-level issue,” Michael said.