Sunday, May 20, 2007

Lee Myung-bak, Korea's IP Defender?

For those of you reading this from far way, Korea is currently anticipating its next presidential election. One of the strong candidates is Lee Myung-bak who is a highly regarded former Mayor of Seoul. 

A couple days ago one of Lee's close aides, Chung Doo-un, made a rather public statement decrying the amount of IP theft from Korean companies:

Citing a compilation of data from the National Intelligence Service, Rep. Chung Doo-un of the Grand National Party said the damage was almost four times larger than the 26 trillion won in losses from industrial technology leaks from 1998-2003.

The rise "could be a loss not only to the companies themselves, but also to national competitiveness in this globalized world," the lawmaker told a parliamentary forum on the issue. 

While his comments are more international in nature, and are likely a bit of grandstanding in light of the recent high profile Kia Motor's IP theft, they do raise an interesting possibility. One of the more frustrating aspects in working in and with Korea is its reticence for the government to take a diplomatic stand vis-a-vis IP issues with foreign countries. I wonder if a Lee presidency could see Korea stepping up in this regard and joining the diplomatic front against countries who serially violate IP.


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