Professor Kamil Idris on Intellectual Property and Trade with China

Professor Kamil Idris serves as the Director General for the World Intellectual Property Organization. Professor Idris’ position as Director General leaves him uniquely qualified to offer his opinion on current strategies to protect intellectual property rights as well as how these efforts may effect future trade with China.


Intellectual property and globalization are inherently linked according to Professor Idris. The transfer of intellectual property across borders is a benefit of globalization that is one of the driving factors of worldwide economic growth. However, Professor Idris cautions that while the transfer of intellectual property across borders is a positive aspect of globalization, there are dangers associated with such benefits, such as piracy and counterfeiting. Furthermore, increasing activity has created a long wait or patents to be approved which increases the risk of piracy and counterfeiting in the interim. In Professor Idris’ opinion the World Intellectual Property Organization recognizes these threats and has spearheaded the adoption of the measures such as the WIPO Copyright Treaty in an effort to combat this growing problem.

The trade policy of the United States is currently taking aim at at China as one of the greatest sources of intellectual property theft according to Professor Idris. In Professor Idris’ opinion a great number of companies in the Untied States have fallen victim to Chinese intellectual property theft schemes within China. For example, the Chinese government turns a blind eye to the counterfeiting of luxury goods, costing American manufacturers untold millions of lost revenue. Professor Idris believes that the Trump administration has enacted tariffs against Chinese products to reflect the amount of revenue lost by American manufacturers due to the inability or unwillingness of the Chinese Government to recognize and protect the intellectual property rights of American companies. Professor Idris concludes that these tariffs are President Trump fulfilling a campaign promise to combat Chinese intellectual property theft. While these tariffs have the potential to lead to a trade war, Professor Idris believes that they likely will not, and are necessary to combat Chinese intellectual property theft.

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