Sinodefence article

Russia, China Sign Intellectual Property Agreement

Published: 15 Dec 2008 20:13 EST (01:13 GMT)

Russia and China have signed an agreement to protect intellectual property in the field of military technical cooperation, an act meant to stop China from copying Russian weapons designs.

The document was signed Dec. 11 during a visit by Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov to Beijing, the 13th meeting of the bilateral commission for technical and military cooperation and the first in three years.

A source in the Russian Foreign Ministry said Moscow insisted on such a meeting during President Dmitry Medvedev's visit to China in May and the visit of Wen Jiabao, chairman of the Chinese State Council, to Moscow in October.

Russian officials have accused China, the biggest importer of Russian arms in the 1990s, of replicating the designs of Russian weapon systems and aircraft. The most prominent scandal unfolded over the Chinese analog of the Russian Su-27 fighter (NATO codename Flanker), called the J-11B.

In 1995, Russia and China signed a contract for the licensed assembly of 200 Su-27CK fighters under the codename J-11 in China. Russia supplied about half of the assembly kits between 1998 and 2004, when China refused the remaining ones. Chinese media have reported on the creation of the J-11B fighter with a locally developed engine and radar.

Russian defense analysts have warned that China may edge out Russia from the international arms market by offering cheaper versions of popular Russian defense systems. They also note that China is buying increasingly fewer Russian arms, yet consistently demanding to buy the more advanced weapons sold by Moscow.

It is unlikely that this intellectual property agreement will stop China from copying Russian arms, but Russia will have more leverage to demand that China stop re-exporting its copies to other countries, said Konstantin Makiyenko, a defense analyst with the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, a think tank in Moscow.