893.542/50: Telegram

The Minister in China (Johnson) to the Secretary of State

436. According to statement published in the press a few weeks ago the Ministry of Industries informed Greater Shanghai Chamber of Commerce that there was no patent office in China and accordingly no reason to prevent Chinese from copying foreign patents. On April 22nd Legation instructed Peck to lodge informal protest with the Minister of Industries against issuing a statement of this character which could not fail to encourage China to copy American patents, which China is bound by the terms of article 10 of the treaty of 190366 to protect. Minister was requested to issue supplemental statement warning Chinese against copying American patents but this he did not promise to do, merely giving assurances that he would give matter his earnest attention. There is increasing evidence that Nanking Government instead of endeavoring to protect foreign patents is making determined effort to encourage imitation of such patents by Chinese citizens and firms.

  1. Signed at Shanghai, October 8, 1903, Foreign Relations, 1903, p. 91.