China commits to software, IP protections in talks with the U.S.

Chinese government officials agreed to crack down on software and other piracy and to take steps to ensure that state-owned organizations use legal software.

The commitments, reached during negotiations with U.S. government representatives this week as part of the countries’ Strategic and Economic Dialogue, will grow U.S. exports and help create U.S. jobs, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said.

The agreements “promise real results for American innovators, creative industries and workers, from more vigorous protection and enforcement of trade secrets to strengthened software legalization efforts at state-owned enterprises and improved enforcement of intellectual property rights,” he said in a statement.

China agreed to implement software management systems to promote the use of legal software by state-owned enterprises, and the country’s negotiators promised to take action against Internet piracy and trade secret theft, said the BSA, a software trade group.

Reaction

A BSA representative called China’s commitments on software “encouraging.”

“There are proven, internationally recognized best practices for software asset management,” Jodie Kelley, BSA’s general counsel and senior vice president of antipiracy, said in a statement. “Adopting them as common practice would go a long way toward curbing software piracy among state-owned enterprises, and it would send a powerful signal to China’s private sector.”

China also agreed to open up some markets, including e-commerce, to U.S. companies. The two sides discussed cooperative measures on cybersecurity, and the countries talked about working together on law-enforcement issues, including cybercrime and intellectual property rights, the U.S. Department of State said in a statement.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce trade group called the progress on government procurement and intellectual property protection “incremental,” but welcomed those advances.

The Chamber also called on China to stop the cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property. That issue is “destabilizing” to the relationship between the two countries, said Myron Brilliant, the Chamber’s executive vice president and head of international affairs

“We are encouraged by this week’s discussions on cyber-enabled economic espionage, but the proof of progress will come only when the two governments agree that such behavior is a punishable crime, and implement a clear action plan to substantially reduce such theft emanating from China,” Brilliant added in a statement.

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