China’s Reverse Robin Hood: Stealing Intellectual Property from the Poor

January 19, 2011

Some advocates of developing countries contend that too often intellectual property law enforcement keeps developing countries from acquiring drugs or other IP-based technologies critical to overcoming barriers to growth. Some go so far as to say that tough IP laws are nothing more than a sinister way to keep rich countries rich and let poor countries stay poor. China is among the countries that argue that they are poor and that technology transfer (much of it forced or stolen) is an integral part of their development strategy. Yet Chinese firms steal IP not only from rich nations, but also from countries far poorer. In this post, Scott Andes reports from Ghana on how China's IP theft hurts the poor.