Overview of Data and Respondents

In total, 49 respondents participated in the initial 2005 stage of the study, with 18 formal interviews carried out in the second phase of research in 2015. In response to some basic questions about their involvement with this topic, all of the respondents in the initial group informed me that they were involved with IP in China and furthermore, all respondents were based in China or Hong Kong. When asked how long they/their company had been working in China, the majority responded that they had been established in China for more than ten years. This affirms that respondents should be knowledgeable about the topic of intellectual property protection in China as all deal with IP and the majority of individuals had also been working in China for many years. This wealth of experience with the IP system in China was mirrored in the backgrounds of the respondents in 2015; of the 18 interviewees, the majority had over ten years of experience working in the IP field in China, with an average of 11 years.

The respondents also represented a mix of nationalities with 29 of the initial group of respondents from China and 20 from other countries, mostly in Europe or North America. In 2015, the majority of the respondents were Chinese with only four foreign interviewees, again representing a mix of other nationalities. The type of enterprise represented in the study also showed a mix with the majority being domestic Chinese enterprises and the rest being foreign-invested enterprises operating in China. Tables 4.1 and 4.2 show the breakdown of both groups of respondents by nationality and the type of enterprise that they work for.

Table 4.1 Number of respondents according to respondent nationality and type of enterprise, 2005-6

Respondent

nationality

Type of enterprise

Works for domestic Chinese enterprise

Works for foreign-invested enterprise

Total

Chinese

22

5

27

Foreign

5

17

22

Total

27

22

49

Table 4.2 Number of respondents according to respondent nationality and type of enterprise, 2015

Respondent

nationality

Type of enterprise

Works for domestic Chinese enterprise

Works for foreign-invested enterprise

Total

Chinese

10

4

14

Foreign

1

3

4

Total

11

7

18

Table 4.3 Number of respondents according to the goods or services their company offers, 2005-6 and 2015

Type of goods or services offered

Coding

Number of respondents 2005-6

Number of respondents 2015

Legal services

LAW

31

10

Manufacturing

MANU

8

1

Food and beverage

FOOD

3

0

Electronics

ELECT

0

2

Academia

ACAD

0

2

Fashion and luxury goods

LUX

2

1

Services

SERV

2

1

Automobile

AUTO

1

0

Pharmaceutical

PHARMA

1

1

Technology and telecommunications

TECH

1

0

Total

49

18

In addition to a variety of nationalities and enterprise types represented amongst my respondents, a number of different industries were represented. The majority of respondents were from law firms, but this was broadly defined as including trademark and patent agencies, as well as companies offering legal advice under a broader framework of consultancy. The number of respondents is shown in Table 4.3 according to the type of goods or services that their enterprise offers. A further column also indicates how respondents from this type of enterprise were coded to ensure their anonymity.

Therefore, the number of respondents represented a wide variety of nationalities, types of enterprises, and goods and services offered. In addition, the respondents provided a great deal of rich qualitative data overall. Turning to data analysis, the answers given on the questionnaire in response to the open questions were combined with the interview transcripts and notes, as well as documentary data and analysed using the NVivo software to code the answers given, to build a model of TRIPS compliance in post-WTO China. My initial coding framework was extensive and featured 41 potential nodes under which the data was coded. These nodes are shown below:

  • • Assessing the Current System
  • - Comparisons to other systems
  • - Experiences with the current system
  • - Praise for the current system
  • - Problems in the current system
  • - Inconsistency
  • - Local protectionism
  • - Problems with corruption
  • - Problems with enforcement
  • - Problems with legislation
  • - Other problems
  • • Causes of the current state of the IP system
  • - Fundamental factors
  • - Attitudes and values
  • - Economy
  • - Political or institutional
  • - Parameters
  • - History of IP in China
  • - Physical characteristics of China
  • - Proximate Factors
  • - Administrative capacity
  • - Knowledge and Information
  • - Leadership
  • - Other causes
  • • Forces for Change
  • - Changes observed in the IP system
  • - Attitude of leadership
  • - Foreign companies and foreign countries
  • - Impact of WTO entry
  • - Local companies
  • - Natural development or “matter of time”
  • - Other force for change
  • - Administrative changes
  • • Solutions
  • - Awareness
  • - Government commitment
  • - International cooperation
  • - Resources
  • - Training
  • - Other solutions
  • - Predictions for the future of the IP system

Following this initial coding, several of the nodes were then merged to create a more manageable framework for analysis and I then continued this process of reading the data and making decisions about coding categories whilst attempting to move towards a dynamic and comprehensive model of compliance. In terms of presentation of data, a different font will be used for direct quotes from respondents, for ease of identification. In addition, the interview transcripts followed some basic transcription conventions (Silverman 2004, pp. 368-9); the following are the most important which may appear in quotes taken from these transcripts:

( ) parentheses indicates that the words were inaudible, or not clear enough to transcribe, words within the parentheses represent a best estimate of what was said;

[ ] square brackets indicates overlapping talk, most commonly saying “yeah” or “uh-huh” whilst the respondent was talking;

  • (( )) double brackets indicates commentary of other events, such as observing a mobile phone ringing or knocking being audible on the tape;
  • - hyphen represents a self-interruption or an abrupt cut-off of what the respondent was saying. [1] [2]

The framework for assessing overall compliance with the TRIPS Agreement outlined in this chapter will now be applied to the specific context of China’s compliance with the TRIPS Agreement since formal accession in December 2001. The next chapter will consider how the substantive IP-related legislation was amended to comply with TRIPS, then Chaps. 6 and 7 will outline respondents’ experiences of dealing with China’s IP system in both the short and long term.

  • [1] In order to maintain the confidentiality of all respondents, codes wereassigned to each respondent which will be used to identify their comments.These codes aim to identify the basic characteristics of the respondents, suchas the nature of the enterprise they work for, without revealing their identityor enough details to enable identification by someone knowledgeable in theIP field in China. Consequently, the initial number 05 or 15 indicates whetherthe respondent was part of the initial or later group of interviewees. Three letter codes were then assigned based on the respondents’ enterprise, followedby a two-digit number, and then a “T” if the comments had been translated.For example, 05LAW01T represents the first respondent from a law firm fromthe original 2005-6 group and that their comments have been translated. It isimportant to identify which comments are translated in order to maintain transparency of the data, as these comments are not in the respondents’ own words.
  • [2] See Appendix 2 for interview framework. 2. Perhaps due to the commercial nature of the topic of IP compared to the ethnographic study of minorities studied by Gladney. 3. Similar to those experienced by: Scoggins (2014, p. 394). 4. Again, similar to the experiences of: Scoggins (2014, p. 395). 5. The list of the top 500 Chinese enterprises according to their revenue as produced by the China Enterprise Confederation (2010). 6. Comment from respondent 05FOOD03.
 
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