Perceptions (and Misperceptions) of IPR Lawsuits in the P.R.C.
There is no question that many foreign companies operating in the People’s Republic of China struggle with the protection of their intellectual property rights ("IPR"). The concerns of companies with protecting their valuable IPR in a developing country such as the P.R.C. are legitimate and serious. Though many of the executives and attorneys of these companies may view themselves as "old China hands" and have many years of experience in fighting to protect their IPR in the P.R.C., many more are relative newcomers to China and their views of IPR protection are shaped by not only their own experience, but by the perceptions of others, which may or may not be valid. For instance, some overseas business executives or legal counsel on occasion may voice their view that pursuing litigation as a foreign firm against a P.R.C. company over an alleged infringement in a P.R.C. court is a waste of time and money, as either they have little chance of prevailing, or, if they should prevail, the damages awarded will be so small as to not provide any substantive deterrent. Though every alleged infringement is case-specific, it is, however, useful to separate the perceptions (and misperceptions) from the realities of foreign-related IPR litigations in the P.R.C.