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USTR Calls for Comments on Intellectual Property Protection and Enforcement

Washington, D.C. -- Today the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) called on the public to submit information to assist in the annual "Special 301" review on the adequacy and effectiveness of U.S. trading partners' protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR). To view today's Federal Register notice with further details on when and how to submit comments, click here.

"The Special 301 process pinpoints key challenges for U.S. intellectual property-based businesses from piracy, counterfeiting, and other forms of IPR theft. To help stem these losses, the Obama Administration has made improvements to Special 301 designed to focus on these threats to America's innovation and creativity - two of our greatest strengths in the global economy," said Ambassador Kirk. "With more robust, public participation in the review, we can better achieve the goal of identifying and addressing the most serious problems with protection and enforcement of IPRs."

The 2010 Special 301 review process will include the following key elements:

  • USTR will provide more avenues for participation in the 2010 Special 301 review process by holding a public hearing to allow interested persons to testify before the interagency IPR team about issues relevant to the review. This new process provides an additional opportunity for direct public interaction with officials of key agencies involved in Special 301 decision-making.

  • USTR will establish a new website dedicated to the Special 301 review process, which will include links to current and historical information about the review.

  • The 2010 Special 301 Report will highlight the coordination of U.S. Government training and technical assistance efforts with objectives identified in the Report.

  • The U.S. Government will continue to work with our trading partners throughout the year to strengthen IPR laws and enforcement efforts, and will provide IPR training and technical assistance to enhance those goals.

BACKGROUND

The Special 301 Report was put into effect in 1989 in accordance with the provisions of the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988. In 2009 USTR and the interagency IPR team reviewed 77 trading partners for the Special 301 Report. The USTR placed 46 trading partners on the Priority Watch List, Watch List, or on Section 306 monitoring.