Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Second USTR request to China to pinpoint deficiences in IP enforcement

On January 20th, 2006 deputy U.S. Trade Representative Peter Allgeier explained the legal rationale of the first request based on article 63 (3) of the TRIPS Agreement to outline the steps China is taking to comply with TRIPS in a letter to China's ambassador to the WTO, Mr. Sun Zhenyu.

"In the letter (IP Dragon: October 25th, 2005), Allgeier said the USTR is concerned about Chinese statements noting that the relevant section of the international agreement on intellectual property, or the TRIPS Agreement, refers to a member's right to request information but makes no mention of another member's requirement to respond to those requests."

"Should China fail to show progress in curbing rampant piracy and counterfeiting (IP Dragon: China should do so based on article 41 (1) of the TRIPS agreements), the White House -now under intense pressure from members of Congress concerned about the issue - could ask for a WTO panel to settle the dispute. " See more about this here.

USTR demands information in six areas (all in the spirit cooperation and mutual understanding of course):
1. legal basis for the claim;
2. types of remedies imposed
3. timing and location of the enforcement actions;
4. whether cases were transferred to criminal authorities;
5. whether rights holders were foreign or Chinese;
6. types of products involved.

According to the USTR China has recognised the cases as being related to the question of its compliance with the TRIPS agreement. China mentioned these cases December 9, 2004 during the TRIPS council review, see IP/C/34, paragraphes 6, 52-55, 62, 75 and 76.

Read Elisabeth Price's article for Dow Jones News here, Doug Palmer's take on the matter for Reuters here, FT's Christopher Swann and Edward Alden's article here or read the USTR letter yourself here.   

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