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China's Rippo of Zippo: expanding the costs of pirated intellectual property

A. D. Amar (Seton Hall University, South Orange, New Jersey, USA)

Publication date: 1 July 2011


Subject area

International business; business ethics; international trade law; intellectual property

Study level/applicability

Undergraduate and Master's level courses in Business and Management, particularly with a focus on international trade.

Case overview

This case covers the issues that surround piracy of intellectual property by highlighting illegal manufacture and distribution of millions of Zippo brand windproof lighters and considers the seriousness of the large-scale theft of intellectual property by civilized nations. The focus of this case is on the additional victimization of the producers of genuine products, mostly European and American, who have the policy of life-time repair-or-replace warrantee, which by extension, although wrongly, becomes applicable to their counterfeits. Some micro and macro aspects are covered in detail, some are alluded to, while others are left out for the teachers of this case to justify considering the local logic and culture.

Expected learning outcomes

There are major lessons embedded in this case: first, intellectual piracy is not less than the theft of tangible property. Second, the problem of piracy carried out by large, civilized countries is really serious because of its huge size. Third, if the rights of those developing innovation are not protected and they cut their investments in R&D, the consequence will hurt all people in the world – emerging and developed.

Supplementary materials

Teaching note.



Amar, A.D. (2011), "China's Rippo of Zippo: expanding the costs of pirated intellectual property", , Vol. 1 No. 3.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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