Guest Post: What Copyright, China? No Incentive for IP in China

counterfeit, Louis vuitton, fashion law, paris, street style, fashion week

Our next guest post comes from Stephanie Idio, a law school graduate, who is currently living and working in China.  In the past, she interned for fashion law company, Fashion Boss. Idio writes about the business and legal issues in the fashion industry on her blog aptly named, Fashion Legallaire. Idio is a wealth of knowledge. In fact, prior to my first year of law school, I spoke with her about the field and she gave me incredible advice. After you check out her piece, make sure you head over to her blog and follow her on twitter, FashnLegallaire

Fashion Legallaire Goes to China: What Copyright, China? No Incentive for IP in China

As a recent expat to Guangzhou, China, the biggest manufacturing city in the world, I see firsthand the beginning and end of many counterfeited goods. Seven days a week, Guangzhou’s factories produce manufactured goods for branded and non-branded companies alike. For example, Louis Vuitton has a manufacturing company here, so naturally the art of making precise counterfeit LV products is perfected here. Sure there is pride in buying the real deal, but a $7 counterfeit in a subway station, just may be your dirty little secret.

As an American fashion law enthusiast, I learned that intellectual property is the crux of commercializing creativity. Before coming to China, I further learned that China is the worst country when it comes to abiding by international intellectual property laws. But now that I am here, I think I see why there is no incentive for many Chinese manufacturers to follow intellectual property laws. It begs the question, “what copyright, China?”

So countdown the ways with me….

1. Most of the branded imported textile goods are manufactured in China so it is very easy to not only make items for export, but to keep the manufactured items to sell in the local markets.

2. Factories mess up sometimes. A wrong stitch here or there means that the item needs to be tossed- usually right out to the street or local market.

3. Even if a Chinese manufacturer does follow ip laws here, there are many more people here that do not follow it, so it may cost more financially to abide by the rules in the long run.

4. In China the labor is cheaper and fashion companies take advantage of this fact at their own expense. The cost of production for manufactured goods is so low that branded companies choose not to move its manufacturing out of China.

5. While the supply for counterfeited goods is high, the demand is even higher. Counterfeited goods is a billion dollar business. *Think Louis Vuitton in the subway*

Counterfeited products manufactured in China range from pharmaceuticals, beauty products, technology, to fashion. It has been very amusing guessing whether something is real or fake here; but usually, the price determines that.

Photo Credit: Photographer Peter Stigter via Fashion Magazine 

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