The Chinese government has filed a slew of lawsuits against American tech companies for using patents it doesn’t own to fight against China’s anti-piracy measures.
The moves have raised concerns that foreign companies can be treated as pawns in China’s intellectual property wars, especially in a country that is increasingly trying to enforce the same laws in international courts.
This week, for example, China’s state-owned news agency Xinhua said that the U.S. had filed a lawsuit against China for alleged copyright infringement in the United States.
It is not clear whether the case is related to the ongoing legal battle between Apple and the U., or whether it is a separate case.
If true, this could mean that Apple and Google could be facing off in a case that could have implications for the broader business of tech companies, which rely on intellectual property.
It also raises the possibility that the US could be accused of infringing on Chinese patents, which could affect its own business in the country.
In a filing with the U, China alleges that Apple infringed on a number of its patents in the US, but it has yet to file a lawsuit, according to Bloomberg.
This is the latest move by China to get involved in patent disputes, which are a major source of economic growth for the country, and could be seen as a signal that the country is serious about the fight against online piracy.
But it’s also unclear what impact the Chinese patent lawsuits could have on US tech companies.
“Apple is a global leader in its field of technology and has developed and deployed an extensive portfolio of intellectual property and other proprietary technologies,” a spokesperson for Apple told The Verge.
“We welcome all the appropriate legal authorities and encourage any infringement issues to be resolved through the appropriate channels.”
It’s not clear exactly how the Chinese government plans to use the lawsuits.
“The use of the Chinese Patent Law to seek legal action against Apple is unprecedented and raises a number concerns about the scope of the case,” the spokesperson said.
“There is no evidence of any infringement by Apple.
In the event that the Chinese authorities are seeking damages or other penalties, we will defend ourselves vigorously.”
If Apple is the target, however, the Chinese move may not be a surprise.
China has long sought to protect its intellectual property rights, even going as far as to file an application to the World Trade Organization to sue Google for allegedly infringing on its intellectual properties in 2015.