Roskam Asks U.S. Trade Rep to Help Local Manufacturer in Fight Against Chinese Offender
WASHINGTON – Congressman Peter Roskam (IL-06) made an appeal yesterday to U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Ron Kirk to intervene on behalf of Itasca-based Fellowes Inc., a thriving manufacturer of paper shredders that is fighting to protect its intellectual property rights against a Chinese offender that Fellowes was participating in a joint venture with. Roskam requested that Ambassador Kirk raise the issue with the Chinese Ministry of Commerce and during a delegation visit to China next month on intellectual property issues, an appeal that Ambassador Kirk graciously agreed to make. Watch the video here.
In suburban Chicago there is a company called Fellows Manufacturing. These are the folks behind the bankers boxes, shredding machines and so forth. Stellar reputation, 550 employees, and in a nutshell they entered into a joint venture in China in 2006, which went well for 3 years and then in 2009 it just devolved into a nightmare.
The nightmare now has involved theft of their property, they’ve been locked out, and they’ve lost tools and it’s been dramatic, to say the least. They have now been involved in a Chinese court to try and seek justice and over the past year it’s become increasingly murky.
So my question – and your staff has again been really helpful on this – my question is: would you be willing to raise this? You know how this works, if the trade ambassador raises it, it has the imprimatur and you’re able to move the ball significantly based upon your personal attention.
And so I just wanted to ask if you’d be willing to raise this issue with the Chinese Ministry of Commerce. It’s also my understanding that you’re going to be dispatching a delegation on intellectual property issues next month and there may be an opportunity there as well. But again your staff has been incredibly helpful and I just wanted to make a personal appeal.
First of all Congressman, thank you for bringing this to our attention. We have worked with you and not only will we raise it, and have I raised it, but this was also one of the issues raised both at the vice-presidential level and at the presidential level.
We are more than concerned and alarmed over the rise in trade theft secrets. It is a tragedy. We are hearing it from small companies like Fellowes but larger companies as well.
I guess the only change since last year is for the first time it’s gotten rampant enough that the companies now have gotten more engaged than many were before because they have realized they have nothing to lose.
But we’ll continue to work with you on that.
Earlier this week Congressman Roskam sent his second letter to Ambassador Kirk bringing Fellowes’ situation to his attention and requesting an updated briefing on the status of this matter. Read the letter here.