VIENNA -- Protecting intellectual property in China is "just a dream," said Ruediger Grube, who heads DaimlerChrysler's Chinese operations.
"The time is over when you could protect your technologies and your innovations," Grube told a panel of experts who discussed European opportunities in China at the 2006 Automotive News Europe Congress on Wednesday. "The best thing you can do is ensure you have the right partner, but there is no way to truly protect your intellectual property. It's just a dream."
Peter Kilgenstein, executive vice president of Bosch (China) Investment Ltd., argued that choosing to establish a wholly foreign-owned organization in China could offer some protection.
He predicted that China would begin to encompass design protection in a decade or so when Chinese companies had developed their own innovations and wished to safeguard them.
DaimlerChrysler management board member Grube said Chinese automakers will establish their own brands using expertise acquitted from their partnerships with their Western partners.
Said Grube: "It's clear that our Chinese colleagues and partners are very clever. They look for partners, acquire the technologies and build up capacity. When that capacity becomes excessive they will cut prices and eventually set up on their own under their own brands."
But Grube said there was no reason why joint ventures between western and Chinese companies could not run for a long time if the venture was a good one.
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