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How managers protect intellectual property rights in China using de facto strategies

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Foreign firms trying to protect their intellectual property rights (IPRs) in emerging economies are suffering real pressures because these economies usually offer little or no enforcement of IPR. Foreign firms therefore have to resort to approaches unlike those they use in developed countries. This paper explores what managers of foreign firms in China have already tried in their efforts to achieve effective IPR protection – specifically, they have crafted de facto strategies that can protect IPR without using China's legal system or engaging in lawsuits against imitators. These strategies work, and this paper explains how and why, thus offering a potential template for IPR protection in other economies with weak appropriability systems.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Institute for Technology Management, University of St. Gallen, Dufourstrasse 40a CH - 9000 St. Gallen, Switzerland. ;;, Email:

Publication date: 2009-03-01

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