Infojustice: Antigua And Barbuda Prepares To Suspend US Intellectual Property RightsPublished on 24 July 2013 @ 5:12 pm
Intellectual Property Watch
Infojustice.org writes: The government of Antigua and Barbuda is moving forward with plans “to suspend certain concessions and other obligations relating to United States intellectual property rights” in retaliation for the US’s violation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) General Agreement on Trade in Services.
The WTO has already found that the US violated the terms of the services agreement by banning online gambling on websites hosted offshore, and it has authorized Antigua and Barbuda’s suspension of American IP benefits as a form of trade retaliation.
Last week, Antigua and Barbuda announced the formation of a select committee to oversee the process of partially suspending the United States’ TRIPS benefits. According to the press release, “The seven-member ‘WTO Remedies Implementation Committee’ (the ‘RIC’), chaired by Antiguan Attorney General Mr Justin Simon QC, is responsible for directing the government’s plan to build the framework necessary to suspend selected US intellectual property rights to the tune of US $21 million per year, effective from April, 2006.” The committee is also tasked with ensuring that the suspension of IPR rights is done “in full compliance with all applicable international and domestic laws that might relate to the suspension of the intellectual property rights.”
Antiguan officials and their attorneys have indicated that they would prefer to negotiate a solution in which the US changes its discriminatory policy, but negotiations have been unsuccessful. In January, Mark Medell noted that it had taken the threat of TRIPS suspension to bring the US to the negotiating table. Attorney General Justin Simon said that “the United States has not yet put a fair settlement offer on the table. Whether or not recourse to these remedies will convince it otherwise, in any event at least there will be some substantial compensation to Antigua and Barbuda as the IP suspensions are implemented.”
Background on the dispute and the WTO rules can be found here.