EU / China – The battle for technology transfers

Published onJune 2018

Early June 2018, the European Union has initiated proceedings before the World Trade Organisation against China for failing to respect the intellectual property rights of European companies.

Observing that “European companies coming to China are forced to grant ownership or usage rights of their technology to domestic Chinese entities and are deprived of the ability to freely negotiate market-based terms in technology transfer agreements”, the EU decided to take action especially on the grounds of the rules set by the WTO’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).

The EU claims that some provisions of the Chinese regulations on technologies transfers discriminate against foreign companies by offering Chinese companies a better treatment.

The EU is clear about its intentions which are safeguarding intellectual and industrial property rights of European companies and assuring better protection for trade secrets.

We will have to wait and see if the WTO will be able to settle the dispute whereas it has been weakened lately, especially by declarations of the Trump Administration.