USTR Releases 2010 Special 301 Report on Intellectual Property Rights

Washington, D.C. – (30.04.2010): The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) today released its annual “Special 301” Report on the adequacy and effectiveness of U.S. trading partners’ protection of intellectual property rights (IPR). The Special 301 Report provides a means for the United States to communicate its concerns about the need to protect and enforce IPR. Fighting IPR theft in overseas markets is critical to the livelihoods of the estimated 18 million Americans who work in intellectual property-intensive industries.   […]

Again this year, USTR’s Special 301 Report highlights the prominence of IPR concerns with respect to China.   

“We are seriously concerned about China’s implementation of ‘indigenous innovation’ policies that may unfairly disadvantage U.S. IPR holders. Procurement preferences and other measures favoring ‘indigenous innovation’ could severely restrict market access for American technology and products,” said Ambassador Kirk. “Creating an environment that nurtures innovation and entrepreneurship is a worthy goal, but China must maintain a level playing field.”   

The Report identifies a wide range of other serious concerns, ranging from the severe problems of piracy and counterfeiting in China, to the challenge of Internet piracy in other countries, to ongoing systemic IPR enforcement shortcomings in many trading partners.   […]

BACKGROUND   

USTR reviewed 77 trading partners for this year’s Special 301 Report, and placed 41 countries on the Priority Watch List, Watch List, or the Section 306 monitoring list.   

The Special 301 designations and actions announced in the Special 301 Report are the result of close consultations with affected stakeholders, interested parties, foreign governments, and Congress, as well as discussions between interested federal agencies.   […]

Trading partners on the Priority Watch List do not provide an adequate level of IPR protection or enforcement, or market access for persons relying on intellectual property protection. China, Russia, Algeria, Argentina, Canada, Chile, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Thailand, and Venezuela are on the Priority Watch List. These countries will be the subject of particularly intense engagement through bilateral discussion during the coming year.   

Twenty-nine trading partners are on the lower-level Watch List, meriting bilateral attention to address underlying IPR problems: Belarus, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Finland, Greece, Guatemala, Italy, Jamaica, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, Norway, Peru, Philippines, Romania, Spain, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.   

Paraguay will continue to be subject to Section 306 monitoring under a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding that establishes objectives and actions for addressing IPR concerns in that country.   

Our process of broad consultations is designed to ensure that Special 301 decisions are based on a robust understanding of often complex intellectual property issues and to help facilitate sound, well-balanced assessments of developments in particular countries. USTR necessarily conducts this assessment on a case-by-case basis, based on the particular facts and circumstances that shape IPR protection and enforcement regimes in specific countries. As discussed in the Report, USTR will continue to work closely with the governments of listed countries.

Source: Press release dated 30.04.2010 by Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR)

Also see:

US calls level of China copyright theft ‘unacceptable’, in: The Economic Times, 01.05.2010

U.S. Says China, Russia Among Worst Copyright, Patent Offenders, in: BusinessWeek, 30.04.2010

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