China Is Getting Better at Busting Counterfeiters
I appreciate the efforts made by "China's piracy plague" (News: Analysis & Commentary, June 5) to investigate the counterfeit problem in China. The report argues that "weak rule of law" and "insufficient enforcement" worsens the counterfeit problem, but it fails to recognize that legislation and enforcement have improved in China, especially recently. In 1999, Chinese authorities investigated and brought into court 1,810 cases of counterfeiting foreigner-owned trademarks, a 44% increase over the year before. And last month, Todd Dickinson, director of the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, praised China's achievement during his meeting with Jiang Yin, administrator of China's State Intellectual Property Office.
I agree that some businesses may feel it is harder than before to deal with counterfeiting, although the overall situation has been improved. One of the main reasons is that the booming Chinese economy makes more capital and better technology available, which may also better enable some counterfeiters. Besides, sometimes the improvement of rule of law may ironically make it harder to prosecute and convict a counterfeiter, since China has adopted a more highly developed system to prevent law-enforcement authorities from abusing their power. But in the long run, it is the law-abiding businesses that will benefit the most from a booming economy and the improved rule of law.
The Chinese market may be like a girl in her teenage stage--acquiring some aggressive behaviors but heading for maturity very fast. The authors made a mistake when they doubted whether it is the right time to invest in China now. If you idle when a girl is growing into a lady, you may lose the best opportunity to win her love.
Larry Xianghong Wu
Office of Science & Technology
Embassy of China
WashingtonReturn to top
Don't Apply a Different Antitrust Standard to Cisco
How is it that Cisco can control 90% of a market and charge higher prices than competitors for an "easily substitutable" product ("Does Cisco have a Microsoft problem?" Legal Affairs, June 5)? People don't buy routers based on cachet. If, in fact, customers could get the same function and compatibility for a lower price, presumably they would, and Cisco wouldn't have its 90% share.
Also, when Microsoft buys up potential rival-technology companies, it is cornering the market and stifling innovation. When Cisco does the same thing, it is merely "an engine for distributing cutting-edge technologies, which customers get to use far more rapidly than if they were being sold by tiny companies..." If the reasoning the Justice Dept. is applying in the Microsoft case means anything, they won't be buying these arguments.
Ralph L. Cumming
Littleton, Colo.Return to top
Let Doctors Help Diagnose Sick Buildings
Although "Is your office killing you?" (Special Report, June 5) contributed importantly to highlighting many of the issues surrounding indoor air quality and sick buildings, two additional comments are worth noting. First, occurrences of indoor air contamination are more infrequent than pervasive. Second, the "box" entitled "Diagnosing a sick office" omitted one essential point. Since health is the central theme, physicians need to be the central players, supplemented by environmental professionals. A headache, after all, may have many causes: bad air or eye strain or muscle spasm in the neck from leaning over a computer terminal or a brain tumor.
The point: Employee symptoms must begin with a clinical diagnosis. This may or may not lead to an environmental assessment, which, in turn, may or may not identify a building-related cause. Having consulted on hundreds of indoor air issues for 15 years, we can attest that few buildings are grossly contaminated. Even those that are rarely engender permanent or serious illnesses in their occupants.
Ronald E. Gots
Howard M. Weiner
International Center for Toxicology & Medicine
Rockville, Md.Return to top