Wednesday, March 18, 2009

How to Sanction Lack of IPR Enforcement in China: Priority Watch List (IILA) or Foreign Country/Section 306 Monitoring Status (IACC)

The International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition (IACC) is an organisation that represents companies concerned with trademark counterfeiting and copyright piracy. The IACC submitted the following recommendations to the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) in their annual Special 301 review of intellectual property protection issues in foreign countries. As in the past years, China and Russia remain the main concern for the IACC. China should be dealt with as a Priority Foreign Country, Section 306 Monitoring, according to IACC.

The International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA), an alliance representing U.S. producers of content and materials protected by copyright laws, including computer software (BSA joined IIPA, see here), films, television programs, music, books and journals, has the most problems with China, Russia and Canada. The IIPA submitted these recommendations to USTR. It suggest to the USTR that China stays on the priority watchlist, see here. The IIPA also recommends that Hong Kong SAR deserves 'Special Mention' (which is a warning sign), read here and so does Taiwan, read here.

Priority Foreign Countries: those countries that USTR believes have the most onerous or egregious policies with the greatest adverse impact on U.S. right holders or products. These countries are subject to accelerated investigations and possible sanctions.

Section 306 monitoring: means that the USTR can move directly to the application of trade sanctions against China if monitoring shows a slippage in China's enforcement of bilateral intellectual property rights agreements. The USTR is granted this authority under Section 306 of the U.S. Trade Act of 1974.

Priority Watch List: those countries which do not to provide adequate IP protection and enforcement or market access for U.S. persons relying on intellectual property protection.

Special Mention: These countries have made progress in improving their level of intellectual property protection but USTR believes they still need to be monitored. USTR also included countries in which problems with intellectual property protection were beginning to become more serious.

I will elaborate on these recommendations, later.

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