US says China must do more to safeguard trade secrets China faces steep intellectual property rights challenges which undercut Beijingâ€™s efforts to boost innovation, the US ambassador said on Thursday, comments that drew a rebuke from Chinaâ€™s Foreign Ministry. Intellectual property rights (IPR) are a perennial headache for foreign companies operating in China and critics argue that poor enforcement scares off firms from transferring technology or applying for patents. The United States has lamented that lax controls have made possible the â€œsystematic stealingâ€ of American innovations. Ambassador Gary Locke said a â€œlong roadâ€ lay ahead before rights holders in China could feel confident that their IPR would be protected under the law. â€œRights holders, including many Chinese, have told us ... that courts lack consistency in the application of procedural remedies and that damages awarded do not fully compensate for losses or fail to deter future infringers,â€ he told a forum. â€œSo long as such entrepreneursâ€™ efforts go unrewarded, Chinaâ€™s efforts to develop an innovative, 21st Century economy will remain stunted.â€ China, he said, was â€œclearly moving in the right directionâ€, but the most pressing issue was reform of trade secrets law. The United States has called Chinaâ€™s theft of trade secrets a â€œgrave problemâ€ as a target company can see market position and competitive advantages from research investment evaporate as a result of corporate espionage. Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang disputed the comments, saying China had made â€œobviousâ€ achievements on IPR enforcement. â€œOn the issue of protecting IPR, we hope that the country in question can increase dialogue and cooperation and mutual understanding and not blindly exert pressure and criticise,â€ Qin told a news briefing. Experts have long argued that improvement in Chinaâ€™s IPR environment would accelerate when domestic companies felt their innovations where being stymied. On Wednesday, a coalition of Chinese Internet TV firms and US film trade group the Motion Picture Association of America sued internet giant Baidu and smaller software firm Shenzhen QVOD for US$50 million in damages for what they called â€œrampantâ€ piracy and copyright violation. IPR rights have also been a sticking point in China-European Union relations, with Beijing calling for a relaxation of the limits on the export of European technology. â€œOn the export of high-tech ... one of the biggest impediments that European companies see is the sometimes insufficient protection of IPR. That being addressed would maybe boost high-tech trade most,â€ EU Ambassador Markus Ederer told reporters ahead of a China-EU summit in Beijing next week. US says China must do more to safeguard trade secrets | South China Morning Post *********************************************************** The US companies may feel Chinaâ€™s theft of trade secrets a â€œgrave problemâ€ and the target company and the market position and competitive advantages from research investment evaporate as a result of corporate espionage, but then the US companies are aware that China is infamous for their copycat products sold at cheap rates. The Chinese thrive and their economy soars on copycat products, and so why should they kill the golden goose?