Baucus, Grassley seek in-depth study of Chinese intellectual property theft

The first report, due November 19, asked ITC officials to summarize the "principal types" of reported intellectual property infringement in China and develop a framework for assessing those violations' economic effects, the lawmakers wrote in the letter.

That request arrives as congressional debate over China's "indigenous innovation" rules continues to grow more vociferous. Lawmakers have expressed increasing concern with Beijing's controversial tech policy, which essentially forces Chinese government agencies to purchase tech equipment only from businesses that develop and register their intellectual property patents locally.

Those rules have long angered U.S. businesses and trade organizations, who feel they are now precluded from selling goods to the Chinese government, one of the state's largest technology purchasers. And the "indigenous innovation" approach has similarly infuriated lawmakers, who regard it as an attempt to obstruct U.S. trade.

“We need to do more to crack down on China's manipulative trade policies,” Grassley said Monday.  “China is using its ‘indigenous innovation’ program to discriminate against U.S. products in the Chinese market."

The second report, due May 2, 2011, would have the ITC describe "the size and scope" of intellectual property theft in China, including its effects "on the U.S. economy and U.S. jobs, including on a sectoral basis." The two senators described that report as essential, given that the U.S. government "has not conducted a comprehensive economic analysis" of such theft.

"The report we commissioned will quantify the effect of China’s intellectual property rights infringement on America’s competitiveness and will shed light on what we can do to better protect U.S. innovation in China — and create good-paying jobs here at home,” Baucus said.