11 October 2004

IPR making headway...

The Special 301 process is gaining some new attention in the IPR battle. The WIPO conference in Geneva has also produced some new headway in fighting the spread of Intellectual Property Rights violations.

“Special 301” is the part of U.S. trade law that requires the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to identify countries that deny adequate protection for intellectual property rights (IPR) or that deny fair and equitable market access for U.S. persons who rely on IPR.

Under Special 301, countries that have the most egregious acts, policies, or practices, or whose acts, policies, or practices have the greatest adverse impact (actual or potential) on relevant U.S. products and are not engaged in good faith negotiations to address these problems, must be identified as “priority foreign countries.” If so identified, the country could face bilateral U.S. trade sanctions if changes are not made that address U.S. concerns.

The 2004 Special 301 report has identified 34 trading partners and placed them on the watch list.

China and Paraguay, due to their serious IP-related problems are subject to another part of the statute, Section 306 monitoring, because of previous bilateral agreements reached with the United States to address specific problems raised in earlier reports.

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