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Charlotte Pipe and Foundry spokesperson Bradford Muller was featured in a January Fox News report exposing China’s unfair trade and business practices.
In 2017, Charlotte Pipe and Foundry discovered, only by accident, that a company called Yitai Plastics of Shanghai had registered the Charlotte Pipe name, brand and logo in China in 2010.
Yitai Plastics had been producing, marketing and selling plastic pipe and fittings for sale in China and several Asian countries under the Charlotte Pipe name for years. The U.S. maker of cast iron and plastic pipe and fittings for plumbing systems, Charlotte Pipe and Foundry has been in continuous operation in the United States for 118 years and remains privately held.
Charlotte Pipe has had to retain a law firm in China in an attempt to recover its intellectual property. If successful, which is not guaranteed, Charlotte Pipe would then have to pay the Chinese government to register its intellectual property in China to prevent the situation from repeating itself.
“They constantly are pushing the envelope,” Muller stated on Fox News referring to Chinese intellectual property theft. “We believe it’s a threat to our business and to our country.”
In a seven-month investigation, the United States Trade Representative found that "Chinese theft of American IP currently costs between $225 billion and $600 billion annually." Those numbers are in line with a 2017 report from the Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property.
In March of 2018, President Donald Trump signed an executive memorandum that imposed retaliatory tariffs on up to $60 billion in Chinese imports to penalize China for trade practices that involve stealing American intellectual property.
“We finally have a presidential administration in Washington that is serious about enforcing existing U.S. trade law,” said Roddey Dowd, Jr., CEO of Charlotte Pipe and Foundry. “For my entire career at Charlotte Pipe, we have had presidents of both parties ignore the brazen cheating from the Chinese. Those days are over.”