intellectual property

Novartis is bullish on Africa. The company’s chief executive Joseph Jimenez last week assembled his senior executives to discuss strategy. Describing the continent as the “next set of emerging markets”, Jimenez thinks it could deliver double digit growth for the Basel-based drug company.

Pharmaceutical companies are now looking to devise long-term strategies for Africa, a market long reliant on donations but now with an expanding middle class. But all brand pharma companies have to tread carefully when trying to make profits in emerging markets. Read more

Rat meat disguised as mutton, fake pharmaceuticals, entire replica Apple stores – China has seen almost every scam imaginable. But in the latest scandal unearthed by Chinese police the pirates have started to intrude into people’s love lives.

In a nationwide crackdown the authorities have arrested 37 people on suspicion of manufacturing nearly 5m fake brand-name condoms and selling them to unwitting consumers through supermarkets, pharmacies and sex shops across the country. Read more

If a mark of being a developed country is innovation, then look out: China is certainly throwing ideas about.

The number of patent applications from China has overtaken those from the US, a remarkable catch-up over the last few years. But does this mean China will soon be exporting ideas in the way it has exported manufactured goods? Chart of the week takes a look. Read more

Chinese sportswear company Qiaodan has long been seen as a copycat for its use of a name and imagery connected to basketball legend Michael Jordan. But in the domain of trademark law, it is nothing if not original in an increasingly bitter fight with Jordan. Read more

By Sudip Chaudhuri of the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta

India’s Supreme Court has denied Novartis a patent for a cancer drug. Novartis is upset that the judgement will adversely affect innovation.

In this case, the judgement is based upon a simple but powerful idea – and other countries could follow suit. Read more

In this photograph taken on October 20, 2010 drugs are displayed at a chemist's shop in Mumbai.India’s lawyers will be licking their lips. Just days after the Supreme Court denied the multinational pharmaceuticals group, Novartis, patent protection for its cancer drug, the country’s judges have another case on their hands.

Merck Sharp and Dohme, better known as MSD, has filed a case with Delhi’s High Court claiming that Glenmark, the Mumbai-listed pharmaceutical company, is violating patents on its diabetes drugs, Januvia and Janumet. And in an unusual move – as domestic pharmas rarely take one another on in India – Sun Pharma, has joined the proceedings as a co-plaintiff. Read more

Apple’s loss of the right to use its iPhone trademark in Brazil might look unjust.

After all, everyone knows the iPhone is one of the US giant’s most cherished products. But there is much more to the dispute than meets the eye. Read more

Who invented the airplane? Many argue it was actually Alberto Santos-Dumont, a pioneer aviator from the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais.

Now it is claimed that Brazil also invented the iPhone before the US. Read more

Photo: Bloomberg

By Jamil Anderlini and Gu Yu

Everyone in China knows that Communist Party officials are some of the biggest buyers of western luxury products.

But in southern China’s Guangdong province, a couple of ambitious cadres decided to go one step further and produce those products themselves. Read more

When Korea Inc is found guilty of breaking rules on international technology rights, it makes headlines (see Apple vs Samsung). But in the background, there is a regular – and large – flow of royalty payments from Korean companies to their western counterparts.

Thanks to its exporters’ growing competitiveness, Korea’s current-account surplus totaled $19.85bn in the first seven months of this year. However, it continued to suffer a deficit in the balance of payments for patents and intellectual property rights, rising to $2.5bn in the same period. Read more

Samsung’s legal defeat in California on Friday was a nasty PR moment for the South Korean tech behemoth: the jury ruled that Samsung had wilfully copied elements of Apple’s product design and user interface features, as it awarded a shade over $1bn in damages. Still, the near-7 per cent fall in Samsung’s share price on Monday morning was surprisingly sharp. Read more

Samsung won a partial victory against Apple in South Korea in its legal battle over technology patients but that failed to lift the company’s stock price.

Samsung’s shares extended losses on Friday, closing down 0.93 per cent at Won1.275m on heavy foreign selling. The shares had gone up more than 20 per cent for about a month since hitting a trough of Won1.09m in mid-July but they have fallen about 5 per cent over the past two weeks. Read more

By Andy Xie

On last Chinese New Year’s Eve in Shanghai, while waiting in a pub for the annual spectacle of zillions of firecrackers and fireworks going off at the same time, I felt like having a cigar. I inquired of a waiter if the pub sold cigars. He said someone outside on the street would. I stepped out. Sure enough, a middle-aged migrant type had a huge stash of cigars hanging on the side of a bicycle, all cuban. The Partagas 4 went for Rmb 50 each, about half the price in Hong Kong. The excitement over a very good price didn’t last. The reality soon dawned on me that someone on the sidewalk selling Cuban cigars was probably not kosher. The cigar certainly didn’t taste cuban. Read more

Cloud computing is set to become very big business indeed – and emerging markets don’t intend to miss out. According to the Asia Cloud Computing Association, China alone plans to invest RMB 1.1 tr ($154.5 bn) in the technology over the next few years.

But there’s a problem, says the Business Software Alliance, a trade group which represents some of the world’s biggest software companies including Microsoft and Apple. A report it released on Wednesday assesses the regulatory climate of 24 countries, accounting for 80 percent of the global ICT market. Its conclusion? Poor regulation in EMs – including Brazil, India and China – threatens the future of cloud computing. Read more

How do Chinese companies make their products stand out in an ultra competitive market? For at least two of them, the answer lies in other people’s brands. Read more

As China moves from a culture of fakes to a culture of innovation, the copycats are also getting more creative – designing better and better knockoffs that pose an increasingly stiff challenge to foreign companies that do business there. From fake iPods to phoney Apple stores, Chinese pirates are moving up the value chain.

 Read more

Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later. Less than a week after an American blogger sparked a media and internet frenzy with her post about fake Apple stores in Kunming, a small city in southwest China, authorities there have moved to close down two of the copycat shops.

Victory for Apple? Depends on how you look at it. Read more

From fake eggs to Louis Vuitton knock-offs, China’s counterfeiting prowess is well known.

But the country’s ever resourceful entrepreneurs have taken counterfeiting (and copyright infringement) to a whole new level with – get this – a whole fake Apple store, complete with a Genius Bar, transparent staircase and blue t-shirted staff.

That, at least, is what this expat found in Kunming, the capital of Yunnan Province in southwest China - and then she found two more. Read more

By Iona Stevens in São Paulo

Britain’s royal wedding has done its part, however small, to increase Brazil’s trade deficit with China. Cheap Chinese versions of Kate Middleton’s engagement ring were sold by the dozen last week right before Friday’s ceremony.

It’s another sign of the ability of the Chinese manufacturers to respond rapidly even to individual events and turn their factories to mass production of the most varied items. It makes you wonder what cheap Chinese imports will flood shopping streets around Brazil during the World Cup in 2014. Read more

Chinese policeman destroys seized counterfeit goodsChina has long been decried as the kingdom of copycats. And one main target of criticism from Western businesses was the government for its inaction against violations of intellectual property rights. But times are changing. On Tuesday, some of Beijing’s top policemen stood forward pledging an all-out fight against piracy and all kinds of fake products.  Read more