Issue 79 | May 21, 2003
USTR Reports on Global IPR Protection
 On May 1, 2003, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative ("USTR") released its 2003 "Special 301" Report on the adequacy and effectiveness of intellectual property protection around the globe. As in the past, this year's report found that lack of intellectual property protection continues to be a global problem, and some governments need to take stronger actions to combat commercial piracy and counterfeiting. The Business Software Alliance and the International Intellectual Property Alliance immediately issued press releases supporting the findings.

This report lists 50 countries or economies as Priority Foreign Countries, Priority Watch List (PWL), Watch List (WL), or Section 306. Priority Foreign Countries are those pursuing the most onerous or egregious policies that have the greatest adverse impact on U.S. right holders or products, and are subject to accelerated investigations and possible sanctions. Ukraine continues to be listed as a Priority Foreign Country. Countries or economies on the PWL do not provide an adequate level of IPR protection or enforcement, or market access for persons relying on intellectual property protection. This year’s report lists eleven trading partners on the PWL. Priority Watch List countries or economies include Argentina, the Bahamas, Brazil, EU, India, Indonesia, Lebanon, the Philippines, Poland, Russia, and Taiwan.

Thirty-six trading partners are placed on the WL, meriting bilateral attention to address the underlying IPR problem. Watch List countries or economies include Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bolivia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Guatemala, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Korea, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Slovak Republic, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, and Vietnam.

This year's report also devotes special attention to the growing issue of counterfeiting and piracy, with particular emphasis on the ongoing campaign to reduce production of unauthorized copies of "optical media" products such as CDs, VCDs, DVDs, and CD-ROMs. According to the report, counterfeiting of trademarked goods is an increasing problem in many countries, including China, Paraguay, Poland, the Philippines, Russia, Vietnam, and Turkey. In addition, the USTR continues to focus on other issues such as internet piracy, proper implementation of the TRIPS Agreement by developing country WTO Members, full implementation of TRIPS standards by new WTO Members, and encouraging government ministries to use only authorized software.

The full report is available at http://www.ustr.gov/reports/2003/fullreport.pdf. To discuss this topic further, please feel free to contact the author, Bill Heinze, at Thomas, Kayden, Horstemeyer & Risley in Atlanta, Georgia.

The information contained in this email is provided for informational purposes only and does not represent legal advice. Neither the APLF nor the author intends to create an attorney client relationship by providing this information to you through this message.