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American University Law Review




The first modern Chinese intellectual property law was established in August 1982, offering protection to trademarks. Since then, China adopted the Patent Law in 1984, the Copyright Law in 1990 and the Anti-Unfair Competition Law in 1993. In December 2001, China became a member of the World Trade Organization, assuming obligations under the TRIPS Agreement. In the past decade, the country has also actively participated in the negotiation of bilateral, regional and plurilateral trade agreements, including most notably the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

Today, the Chinese intellectual property system has garnered considerable global policy and scholarly attention. To help develop a more sophisticated, complex and nuanced understanding, this article reviews the past five decades of English-language scholarship on the system. It begins by creating a taxonomy of this body of literature based on the most common method — chronology. It then turns to an alternative method of organizing and categorizing scholarly literature — disciplinary focus (philosophy and culture; economics, innovation and cultural industries; and politics and international relations).

The remainder of this article identifies the continuing challenges to researchers studying the Chinese intellectual property system. It further explores why it is important for intellectual property scholars to study China and for China scholars to study intellectual property developments. The article concludes with some observations on the future directions in scholarship on the Chinese intellectual property system.

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American University (Washington College of Law)

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