US Annual IP Enforcement Report ReleasedPublished on 30 April 2010 @ 8:12 pm
Intellectual Property Watch
An annual report from the Office of the United States Trade Representative on how well it considers other countries to be protecting and enforcing American intellectual property rights is now available.
The so-called Special 301 report can be read here [pdf].
This year it praises several recent initiatives to strengthen IP internationally, including the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) it is driving, the goal of which is to “work with trading partners in favor of strong IPR enforcement to achieve an agreement that raises the international standard for the enforcement of IPR.”
The report lists countries on a “watch list” and a “priority watch list” if the USTR deems a country is not providing adequate protection of US IP rights.
This year, China leads the priority watch list with developments that have left the USTR “deeply troubled” – in particular by new policies promoting indigenous innovation though preferential treatment that the report says could disadvantage US rights holders in Chinese markets. It also mentions China’s IP enforcement – “ineffective and non-deterrent – as well as piracy of various goods, which is apparently thriving.
Also on the list this year are Chile – in part for not enacting legislation against the circumvention of technological protection measures – and India – for “widespread … counterfeiting of medicines” and for a provision in India’s patent law that disallows the patenting of certain chemicals unless they increase efficiency. India, the biggest producer of legal generic pharmaceuticals which can drive down prices of US-produced brand name drugs, has been trying to separate definitions of counterfeit drugs – a trademark violation – from legitimate generics.
Also receiving a mention on the watch list is Ecuador, where the USTR promised to monitor developments on compulsory licensing, a right it exercised under international trade rules allowing such actions (IPW, Public Health, 22 April 2010).