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US, China Face Challenge in IPR Education Among Youth

The Intellectual Property Attache with the United States embassy in Beijing, Mark Cohen, said the United States and China are facing a big challenge in encouraging young people to adopt a mature view about intellectual property rights (IPRs).


Cohen, the first American special IPR attache appointed by the US Department of Commerce to a particular foreign country, was appointed last November.


A father of four kids, he has always underscored the importance of protecting intellectual property rights among young people.


"I used to go to my son's school to talk about IPR protection. If I have time, I would very much like to visit Chinese universities," said Cohen, adding he felt that accurate ideas about intellectual property protection could be most effectively communicated to college students via vivid examples instead of merely lecturing.


"Communication that makes sense to them is more effective," he said.


Once a college professor in the United States, Cohen knows clearly how young people feel about IPRs.


They experience contradictions, he acknowledged. "They don't have much money but want to enjoy cultural products. They are used to downloading free music from the internet."


As far as he knew, more than 50 percent of Chinese college students use pirate products due to cost concerns.


Young people are currently unwilling to spend more money on intellectual property, he said. However, he added, they will benefit if they develop a correct viewpoint on IPRs.


"They are the most creative people, the future IPR holders. The protection of IPRs will benefit them personally," said Cohen.


In his first year in office, he was invited to many high-level forums, general conferences or training courses. These have provided him with an opportunity to exchange ideas with Chinese colleagues from education, software, legal, banking, movie and sports sectors and helped him better understand the current IPR situation in China.


"We have different systems, but our goals are the same. China is a crucial partner in IPR protection," Cohen said.


He agreed with Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi that a win-win situation should be sought to protect intellectual property rights.


(Xinhua News Agency October 15, 2005)

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