‘No Prize for 2nd Place’: New Film Sounds Alarm on China’s Quest to Win ‘Innovation Race’ Against US

By Andrew Thornebrooke
Andrew Thornebrooke
Andrew Thornebrooke
Reporter
Andrew Thornebrooke is a reporter for The Epoch Times covering China-related issues with a focus on defense, military affairs, and national security. He holds a master's in military history from Norwich University.
and David Zhang
David Zhang
David Zhang
David Zhang is the host of China Insider on EpochTV. He is currently based in New York and Washington DC covering China-related news. He focuses on expert interviews and news commentary on China affairs, especially issues regarding the U.S.–China relationship.
June 7, 2022 Updated: June 8, 2022

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is exploiting weaknesses in U.S. patent protection laws to gain the upper hand in technological innovation, according to an upcoming film, and big tech companies are helping it in the effort.

“In the innovation race with China, there is no prize for second place,” Luke Livingston, director of the film “Innovation Race,” said during an interview with EpochTV’s “China Insider” at the Western Conservative Summit in Denver on June 4.

“China’s moved into No. 2 by stealing our innovation. But they’re not satisfied with staying there and being a leading manufacturer. They want to move from manufacturing to innovation.”

The film, which premiered at the Western Conservative Summit last week, explores the threat posed to the world by a globally ascendant CCP. A key focus of the film is how the CCP is exploiting weaknesses in the U.S. patent protection system and how those weaknesses might be shored up in order to restore the United States to dominance in global technological innovation.

“People think, ‘Well, China just steals technology, that’s all they do,'” he said. “But the American public needs to understand that China, the CCP, are not only stealing intellectual property, they’re also wanting to move from that to innovation. They want to become innovators. They want to own the technology that they’re manufacturing.”

To that end, Livingston said the CCP leadership was studying 250 years of U.S. history, seeking to understand and exploit America’s successes without replicating its failures. Foremost among those failures, he said, was the country’s continual weakening of its patent protection laws to coddle Big Tech against the competition.

“We have been shooting ourselves in the foot the last 10 years by weakening our patent system to allow big tech to pull the ladder up on little guys that are trying to disrupt the markets,” he said.

Indeed, major tech companies such as Google have consistently lobbied the U.S. government to water down patent laws that allow inventors with new, better ideas to effectively compete with them, thus ensuring big tech companies a greater market share by effectively prohibiting small businesses from being able to make a living by creating revolutionary new technologies.

Livingston said these corporations regularly harass up-and-comers with frivolous lawsuits in order to wear out potential competitors who don’t have the legal knowledge or resources to counter a flood of bad-faith attacks against their businesses and who often simply close up shop without putting up a sustained fight.

China, meanwhile, was moving to occupy the void in patent law left by big tech in order to further reshape global laws in its own favor. By exploiting weaknesses in U.S. patent protections, Livingston said, China could usurp its status as the world leader in tech innovation by better securing rights to critical and emerging technologies than the United States.

“China wants to move,” he said. “They know they can’t stay in second place.

“So they’re moving toward designing, innovating, securing that global governance of intellectual property, things like that.”

To that end, Livingston said the innovation race was really about ensuring that the United States could continue to lead the world in developing new technologies and thereby continue creating the tools to make everyone’s lives more comfortable and efficient. Ensuring such dominance is vital to preserving the liberties that the CCP is so set on destroying, he said.

“People need to realize that if we lose the innovation race with China, they will control the world’s technology, they’ll control the world’s economy, and they’ll control you,” he said.

Andrew Thornebrooke
Andrew Thornebrooke is a reporter for The Epoch Times covering China-related issues with a focus on defense, military affairs, and national security. He holds a master's in military history from Norwich University.
David Zhang
David Zhang is the host of China Insider on EpochTV. He is currently based in New York and Washington DC covering China-related news. He focuses on expert interviews and news commentary on China affairs, especially issues regarding the U.S.–China relationship.