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Journal of International Business Policy




It is well recognized that intellectual property rights (IPR) violations are at the heart of the economic conflict with China. Little agreement, however, exists about the origin and solutions for this provocation. Broadly speaking, two prescriptions have been proposed: the natural evolutionary and the rule of law views. While both have merits and add to our understanding, they do not go far enough to address the more fundamental IPR policy issue: China has benefited from a rule of law overseas and a rule through law at home, manufacturing unfair advantage to its firms, many of which are owned and/or influenced by the government. While recognizing China’s recent effort in improving IPR protection, we point out the intrinsic contradiction in the political economy of China between maintaining the one-party rule, on the one hand, and protecting IPR by an independent court, on the other. Understanding this tension in the application of IPR law can help the international community search for more effective policy options.


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0000-0002-7296-084X (Li)

Original Publication Citation

Li, S., & Alon, I. (2019). China’s intellectual property rights provocation: A political economy view. Journal of International Business Policy. doi:10.1057/s42214-019-00032-x